International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 804–810

The Relationship Between Maternal Fear of Hypoglycaemia and Adherence in Children with Type-1 Diabetes




Regular blood glucose monitoring is important for children with type-1 diabetes; however, the relationship between maternal fear of hypoglycaemia and glycaemic control is not well understood.


The relationship between maternal beliefs about diabetes, concerns about glycaemic control and adherence to recommended blood glucose levels in young children with type-1 diabetes were examined in this study.


Seventy-one mothers with children under 13 were recruited, and a prospective design was used. Demographics, maternal self-reported hypoglycaemic fear and illness perceptions were measured at baseline. Self-report daily blood sugar levels were recorded over 1 week, and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) blood glucose levels were collected at baseline and 3 months later.


High maternal fears of hypoglycaemia were predictive of suboptimal daily glycaemic control (elevated blood glucose levels), irrespective of illness duration or age at diagnosis.


The results suggest that mothers who worry most about hypoglycaemia compensate by maintaining their child’s blood glucose levels above recommended levels. Elevated blood glucose levels have important consequences for long-term health, and further research could explore ways to target maternal fear of hypoglycaemia.


Type-1 diabetes Fear of hypoglycaemia Attitudes Adherence 

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evril Freckleton
    • 1
  • Louise Sharpe
    • 1
  • Barbara Mullan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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