Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Type 1 diabetes, parenting a child, diabetes in Poland, hypoglycemia

Major Advisor

Cheryl Beck

Associate Advisor

Carol Polifroni

Associate Advisor

Louise Reagan

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The prevalence and incidence of type 1 diabetes worldwide has significantly increased in the past few decades. This increase had been particularly evident in Poland. Type 1 diabetes has been recognized as a family disorder rather than an individual disorder. Parenting a child with type 1 diabetes is challenging and requires assimilation of child’s newfound needs into family life. The purpose of this study was to describe the meaning of parenting a child with type 1 diabetes in Poland through the lens of the parents. A qualitative, descriptive phenomenological research designed was used. Participants (N =11) were interviewed in person in Poland and Colaizzi’s (1978) method was utilized to identify themes. The data analysis resulted in 401 significant statements, forming six overarching themes: (a) Cheating Destiny: Journey Into the Past, (b) On the Edge of Abyss: Longing for Support, (c) School Perils: Who is Responsible, (d) Use of Technology: Hopes for Child’s Future, (e) Fighting the Windmills: Parental Losses and Fears, (f) Life Goes On: The New Normal. The child’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes resulted in a myriad of parental emotions ranging from shock, anger, disbelief, sorrow, and fear to a complete denial. The adjustment to the new role and responsibilities was strenuous as no psychological, emotional, or technical supports were offered to parents. Risk of hypoglycemia with the possibility of unintentional injury to their own child paralyzed many parents with fear. The major obstacle parents faced was the school’s lack of accommodations for their child’s condition. Diabetes technology improved the child and parental lives alike. The losses and fears related to the child’s diagnosis were numerous and continue to overshadow their lives. Adjustment to diabetes took time and acceptance of the new normal eased their daily hardship. Nurses in Poland can utilize the results of this study to provide more effective diabetes education and emotional support to parents. Encouraged and reassured parents are likely to deliver better and safer care to their children.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 16, 2024