Date of Conferral





Public Health


Mary Lou Gutierrez


Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has increased among the adolescent population in the United States within the past 30 years. While the increase in T2D is linked to obesity and a lack of physical activity, it lacks contextual analysis within the structure of the non-traditional family unit. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine family structure and prevalence of T2D among adolescents. Krieger’s ecosocial theory guided the study. The research questions were designed to investigate whether family structure directly impacts T2D prevalence or indirectly through socioeconomic status. The research design was quantitative with cross-sectional analysis of secondary data. The population sample was obtained from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health. The sample size was 45,302 adolescents ages 10-17. Multiple logistic regression was used to analyze family structure, parental education, and household income as predictors of diabetes among adolescents, controlling for demographic factors (gender, age, race/ethnicity), body mass index (BMI), and type of insurance coverage. The main findings indicated that the 3 key variables (family structure, parental education, and household income) did not significantly predict diabetes among adolescents. Three significant covariates were age (p = .006), type of insurance coverage (p = .000), and BMI (p = .019). The positive social change implications from the findings of the study may include use by policymakers and administrators to improve policies regarding physical activity, nutritional, and educational programs both at the child and parental levels to reduce obesity.