Objective: To determine whether multisystemic therapy (MST) improved family relationships among youths with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes and whether these changes mediated MST effects on health outcomes. The moderating effect of family demographics on study outcomes was also assessed. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 127 youths. Changes in general family relationships and caregiver support for diabetes care from baseline to treatment completion were assessed. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test whether changes in family relations mediated improvements in frequency of blood glucose testing (BGT) and metabolic control. Results: MST increased support for diabetes care from both primary and secondary caregivers in two-parent but not in single-parent families. However, MST had the strongest effects on BGT and metabolic control in single-parent families. SEM did not support family relations as the mediator of improved BGT or metabolic control. Rather, MST had a direct effect on BGT for all participants. BGT mediated improvements in metabolic control among single-parent families. Conclusions: MST improved family relationships for youths with diabetes in two-parent but not in single-parent families. Objective outcomes related to diabetes were strongest for single-parent families. Other processes such as increased parental monitoring may have been responsible for improved health outcomes among these families.
- Family functioning
- Multisystemic therapy