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.