Dissimilarity in mother and adolescent illness representations of type 1 diabetes and negative emotional adjustment

Brian Olsen, Cynthia A. Berg, Deborah J. Wiebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The study explored how two measures of mother-adolescent dissimilarity in illness representations relate to negative emotional adjustment in mothers and adolescents. Eighty-four adolescents with type 1 diabetes (age 11.5-17.5) and their mothers completed the Revised Illness Perceptions Questionnaire and measures of negative emotional adjustment. Adolescents viewed diabetes as less chronic, containing fewer negative emotional representations, and that mother had less control over the illness than did mothers. Mother-adolescent mean differences in representations were not associated with negative adjustment for adolescents; mean differences in coherence were related to negative adjustment for mothers, when controlling the individual's own representations. A measure of dissimilarity based on the sum of squared differences between mother and adolescent was associated with negative adolescent adjustment when controlling adolescent's own representations, but no relations were found for mothers. Dyadic approaches to coping with chronic illness will benefit by understanding how dissimilarity in illness representations between patient and caregiver relate to adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-129
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Adjustment
  • Adolescents
  • Illness representations
  • Maternal
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychology(all)


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