• childhood;
  • intervention development;
  • nursing;
  • randomized controlled trails;
  • systematic review;
  • type I diabetes

savage e., farrell d., mcmanus v. & grey m. (2010) The science of intervention development for type 1 diabetes in childhood: systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(12), 2604–2613.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a review of the science of intervention development for type 1 diabetes in childhood and its implications for improving health outcomes in children, adolescents, and/or their families.

Background.  Previous reviewers have identified insufficient evidence to support the application of effective interventions for type 1 diabetes in clinical practice. The need for quality randomized controlled trials to address shortcomings in previous study designs has been highlighted as a priority for future intervention research. However, there is also a need to consider the scientific development of interventions, which to date has received little attention.

Data source.  A search for published randomized controlled trials over 5 years (2004–2008) was conducted in electronic databases (Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Psychinfo, ERIC). Reference lists of papers identified from electronic searches were examined for additional papers.

Methods.  A systematic review was conducted. Studies were included if (i) an intervention for managing any aspect of type 1 diabetes was implemented, (ii) children, adolescents and/or their families were sampled, (iii) a randomized controlled trial, (iv) published in English.

Results.  Fourteen randomized controlled trials were reviewed on education (n = 7), psychosocial (n = 5) and family therapy (n = 2) interventions. Compared to education interventions, family therapy and most psychosocial interventions were developed with greater scientific rigour, and demonstrated promising effects on more health outcomes measured.

Conclusion.  Interventions developed within clearly-defined scientific criteria offer potential for improving health outcomes in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes and their families. Future reviews on interventions for type 1 diabetes in childhood need to include criteria for assessing the science of intervention development.