•The purpose of this paper is to present a theoretical model of compliance in young diabetics.
•According to the model, compliance is an active, intentional and responsible process in which young diabetics work to maintain their health in collaboration with the physician.
•Factors which improved compliance were motivation, the results of care, a sense of normality and adequate energy and will-power for care.
•Motivation was improved by support and encouragement given by parents and was found to influence energy and will-power for care.
•Energy and will-power for care were increased through the support of parents, encouragement and the results of care. Furthermore it was found that when young diabetics were not afraid of complications, their energy and will-power for care were better.
•Fear may, however, improve compliance, which is connected with the control of diabetes.
•The results of the study can be used to plan and implement care in young diabetics. In addition to this, the model is a good starting-point for further development and for developing an instrument to measure compliance and the factors related to it.