Daily stressors and coping responses of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes


  • Deborah Draper Hema, 2214 N. Canyon Road, Provo, UT 84604; debbie.hema@imail.org is a certified child life specialist at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah. Susanne Olsen Roper is an associate professor in the School of Family Life, Brigham Young University. Joshua W. Nehring is a student in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. Amanda Call is a graduate student in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California. Barbara Mandleco is a professor in the College of Nursing, Brigham Young University. Tina Dyches is an associate professor in the McKay School of Education, Brigham Young University. Parts of this manuscript were presented at the National Council on Family Relations in November 2005.

Susanne Olsen Roper, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
E-mail: susanne_olsen_roper@byu.edu


Background  Youth with type 1 diabetes cope with a variety of stressors related to daily life and disease management. While previous studies have focused on diabetes-related stressors, little research has examined daily stressors.

Methods  In this qualitative descriptive study, daily stressors and coping responses of 19 children and 33 adolescents with type 1 diabetes (65% are female) were investigated. Participants recorded their own stressors and coping responses in daily diaries for 2–3 weeks.

Results  Five broad themes of daily stressors emerged: people, self, context, no stressor and ambiguous. Coping responses included three general themes: submission, personal responsibility and ambiguous. Younger children reported more stressors related to friends/peers and siblings (people), and adolescents described more stressors related to self, parents (people) and school (context). Younger children used more coping that involved choosing an alternate activity, helping others and an emotional response (taking personal responsibility), whereas adolescents used more coping that involved persistence, alternate thinking and talking things over (taking personal responsibility).

Conclusions  Youth with diabetes did not report stressors related to diabetes and its management as major themes in their daily lives. Clinical interventions based on perceptions of how youth understand and cope with stress are explored.