American Diabetes Association
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Long-Term Occupational Consequences for Families of Children With Type 1 Diabetes: The Mothers Take the Burden

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posted on 2021-10-25, 18:21 authored by Andrea Dehn-Hindenberg, Heike Saßmann, Verena Berndt, Torben Biester, Bettina Heidtmann, Norbert Jorch, Su-Jong Kim-Dorner, Katja Konrad, Eggert Lilienthal, Nicole Nellen-Hellmuth, Andreas Neu, Ralph Ziegler, Karin Lange

To investigate the occupational and financial consequences for parents following the onset of type 1 diabetes in their child.


A questionnaire assessing occupational and financial situations before and in the first year after the onset of diabetes was distributed to all families with a child ≤14 years of age at diagnosis with a diabetes duration of at least 12 months in nine German pediatric diabetes centers.


Data of 1,144 children (mean age at diagnosis 6.7 (3.6) years, 46.5% female) and their families were obtained. Mothers’ occupational status reflected in paid working hours was significantly reduced in the first year after their child's diabetes diagnosis (P < 0.001). Overall, 15.1% of mothers stopped working, and 11.5% reduced working hours. Mothers of preschool children were particularly affected. Fathers’ working status hardly changed (P = 0.75). Nearly half of the families (46.4%) reported moderate to severe financial losses. Compared to an earlier similar study in 2003, significant negative occupational consequences for mothers and financial burden on families remain unchanged in 2018 (P = 0.59 & 0.31, respectively).


Mothers of young children with newly diagnosed diabetes experienced negative consequences in their occupational situation. This inequality for mothers can have long-term negative consequences for their mental health and future economic situation. There is an urgent need for action to reduce the burden on families and to provide professional, social, and regulatory support especially for mothers of young children with diabetes.


The study was supported by an unrestricted grant of “diabetesDE-Deutsche Diabetes Hilfe” (German charitable diabetes foundation).