Family Therapy Helps Teens' Diabetes and Depression

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Family program is effective whether delivered in clinic or via videoconferencing.
Family program is effective whether delivered in clinic or via videoconferencing.

(HealthDay News) -- The evidence-based family therapy program Behavioral Family Systems Therapy for Diabetes (BFST-D) improves both diabetes health outcomes and depressive symptoms among adolescents with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

Andrew R. Riley, Ph.D., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues randomized adolescents with depressive symptoms and type 1 diabetes in suboptimal glycemic control (HbA1c ≥9% [75 mmol/mol]) to participate in BFST-D either via Internet videoconferencing or in person. Given no significant differences between the groups in the randomized controlled trial, groups were collapsed into a within-group prepost design for secondary analyses.

The researchers found that there were significant improvements in glycemic control, depressive symptoms, and family functioning from pre- to post-treatment. Within-subject mediation analysis demonstrated that improvements in depressive symptoms were partially mediated by improvements in parent-youth conflict. Yet family process changes did not mediate diabetes health outcomes.

"In addition to improving treatment adherence and glycemic control, BFST-D has collateral benefits on depressive symptoms," the authors write.


  1. Riley, AR, et al. Diabetes Care, published online before print May 26, 2015; doi: 10.2337/dc14-2519.
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