Background Emerging adults with diabetes are assuming diabetes care responsibility, graduating from high school and leaving their parental homes. We examined: (1) how diabetes care responsibility changed in relation to time (high school to post high school) and living situation (living independently or not of parents) and (2) the association of diabetes self-efficacy, worry about hypoglycaemia, gender and glycaemic control with these changes in responsibility among emerging adults with type 1 diabetes.
Methods During the last 6 months in high school (T1), 113 participants completed diabetes care responsibility (total, daily and non-daily), diabetes self-efficacy and worry about hypoglycaemia scales. Participants again completed the responsibility scales post high school graduation (T2). We used a linear mixed-effects model with diabetes self-efficacy, worry about hypoglycaemia, time since graduation, living situation, gender and glycaemic control as independent variables; and diabetes care responsibility (total, daily and non-daily) as dependent variables. Moderation involving diabetes self-efficacy, worry about hypoglycaemia, gender and glycaemic control was also tested.
Findings Diabetes care responsibility increased over time for total (P < 0.001), daily (P= 0.002) and non-daily (P < 0.001), but the associations of self-efficacy and gender with diabetes care responsibility were moderated by living situation. Self-efficacy was negatively related to total (P= 0.006), daily (P= 0.010) and non-daily (P= 0.030) responsibility for those not living independently while positively related only to total responsibility (P= 0.028) for those living independently. Being female was positively related to total (P= 0.007) and non-daily (P= 0.001) responsibility for those living independently.
Conclusion Diabetes care responsibility increased from high school to post high school among these emerging adults with diabetes. There is a complex relationship between self-efficacy, gender and responsibility related to living independently of parents for these youth.