One hundred and sixty parents of 10- to 18-year-old children with diabetes were interviewed using Hymovich's Chronicity Impact and Coping Instrument (CICI: PQ). Eighty-two parents had access to a specialist nurse service; 72 parents did not. Regardless of the age of the child or the duration of diabetes, parents expressed a need for advice and support with child care. Parents with a specialist nurse needed information on more topics tending to focus on activities of daily living and child development rather than physical care and illness. They were also more likely to seek and receive help from nurses. Their level of concern was greater and, it is argued, may be the price parents pay for greater awareness. The findings of this study suggest that a systematic assessment of parent coping is necessary if specialist nurses are to help parents in their role as primary health carers.