Effects of behavioral family systems therapy for diabetes on adolescents' family relationships, treatment adherence, and metabolic control

Tim Wysocki, Michael A. Harris, Lisa M. Buckloh, Deborah Mertlich, Amanda Sobel Lochrie, Alexandra Taylor, Michelle Sadler, Nelly Mauras, Neil H. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

195 Scopus citations


Background: Behavioral family systems therapy (BFST) for adolescents with diabetes has improved family relationships and communication, but effects on adherence and metabolic control were weak. We evaluated a revised intervention, BFST for diabetes (BFST-D). Methods: One hundred and four families were randomized to standard care (SC) or to 12 sessions of either an educational support group (ES) or a BFST-D over 6 months. Family relationships, adherence, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and health care utilization were measured at baseline and after treatment. Results: BFST-D significantly improved family conflict and adherence compared to SC and ES, especially among those with baseline HbA1c ≥9.0%. BFST-D and ES significantly improved HbA1c compared to SC among those with baseline HbA1c ≥9.0%. Conclusions: The revised intervention (BFST-D) improved family conflict and treatment adherence significantly, while both ES and BFST-D reduced HbA1c significantly, particularly among adolescents with poor metabolic control. Clinical translation of BFST-D requires further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)928-938
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006



  • Adolescence
  • Diabetes
  • Family therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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