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Academic Achievement and Type 1 Diabetes
CITATION:  McCarthy, A.M., Lindgren, S., et al. (2003). Factors Associated With Academic Achievement in Children With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 26:112-117.  


Reserch Design and Methods:  Participants were 244 children, ages 8-18 years, with type 1 diabetes. Measures included school-administered standardized achievement tests (Iowa Tests of Basic Shills and Iowa Tests of Educational Development [ITBS/ITED]), grade point averages (GPAs), school absences.. behavioral assessment, age at disease onset, hospitalizations, and HbA,c.. Statistical differences between subgroups of children were evaluated using t test and ANOVA, statistically controlling for socioeconomic status. Regression analyses were carried out to examine predictors of academic performance.

Results:  Reading scores and GPA were lower for children with poor metabolic control than for children with average control. Children with hospitalizations for hyperglycemia had lower overall achievement scores than children with better metabolic control and fewer hospitalizations for hyperglycemia. The small group of children with tight metabolic control and hypoglycemic hospitalizations scored particularly low on the ITBS/ITED. Other variables had less clear relationships with academic achievement. Neither early onset of diabetes nor frequent school absence was associated with lower scores on the ITBS/1TED. Sex comparisons found that boys performed better than girls only in math. Socioeconomic status and parent ratings of behavior problems were significantly correlated with academic achievement, but medical variables added only slightly to predictive precision.

Conclusions:  For most children with diabetes, medical variables are not as strongly associated with academic achievement as are factors such as socioeconomic status and behavioral factors. Poor metabolic control and serious hypoglycemia, however, are a potential concern for a subset of these children.

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