Although compliance with self-care amongst adolescents with diabetes is known to be problematic, this issue has rarely been examined from the perspective of young diabetics themselves. The purpose of the study was to explore how adolescents with diabetes perceived the actions of physicians, nurses, parents and friends in relation to compliance with self-care. Fifty-one young diabetics aged from 13 to 17 responded to a questionnaire concerning compliance and were interviewed on the topic of compliance. Interview data were analysed by content analysis. The categories obtained were quantified and the relationship between compliance and the actions of physicians, nurses, parents and friends analysed by cross-tabulation. Interviews with 51 adolescents showed that the actions of physicians, nurses and parents described as motivating were associated with better compliance. Good compliance was also more evident when parental actions were perceived as accepting. Young diabetics whose friends offered silent support, or who viewed friends as irrelevant, were more likely to report good compliance. In contrast, physicians’ actions described as routine/negligent, disciplined control by parents, and domination by friends were linked with poor compliance.