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A qualitative study of young people's perspectives of living with type 1 diabetes: do perceptions vary by levels of metabolic control?

Authors


Correspondence to B. Mandleco: e-mail: barbara_mandleco@byu.edu

Abstract

Aim

To explore if young people with higher and lower levels of metabolic control of type 1 diabetes have different perceptions about their lives and illness.

Background

Adolescence through emerging adulthood is a developmental stage made more challenging when the person has type 1 diabetes. Little research has investigated if individuals with high and low levels of metabolic control in this age group perceive their disease differently.

Design

Qualitative descriptive.

Methods

In this study, 14 participants, ages 11–22 years were interviewed in 2008 about their perceptions of living with type 1 diabetes. Through a process of induction, major themes were identified.

Results/findings

Participants with high and low metabolic control levels reported similar themes related to reactions of others, knowledge about type 1 diabetes, and believed healthcare providers used authoritarian interactions. However, high metabolic control level participants believed type 1 diabetes would be cured; had negative initial responses to being diagnosed; rarely received parental support in managing their diabetes; and were negligent in self-care activities. Participants with low metabolic control levels did not believe a cure was imminent or have negative responses to being diagnosed; received parental support in managing diabetes; and were diligent in self-care activities.

Conclusion

Nurses should give information to young people with type 1 diabetes beyond initial diagnosis and help and support this age group learn appropriate ways to manage their disease, develop positive relationships with healthcare professionals, and participate in interactions with others their age successfully managing type 1 diabetes.

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