Aims To determine the effects of an empowerment programme on glycaemic control and empowerment, and to study the role of parental involvement.
Methods The wait-list design is a randomized controlled trial lasting for 6 months, after which the control group participate in the same education programme as the intervention group. After 6 months, data from the two groups are analysed together (pre/post). Thirty-two teenagers with Type 1 diabetes (12–17 years) completed an empowerment group education programme, meeting weekly for 6 weeks. They were also offered an extra meeting together with their parents, which resulted in three groups: together with parents, only parents and no parent involvement at all. HbA1c was measured before intervention and after 6, 12, 18 and 24 months, and empowerment before, and 6 and 12 months after.
Results HbA1c and empowerment were similar in the intervention group and the control group 6 months after intervention. In pre/post analysis, HbA1c was significantly higher 6 and 12 months after intervention in teenagers > 14 years (from 8.4% to 9.3%; P < 0.05 to 9.6%; P < 0.01), but returned to baseline 18 months after the programme. In teenagers ≤ 14 years of age, HbA1c did not change during the study. The teenagers felt more ready for changes after the programme than before (3.9 sd = 0.5 to 4.1 sd = 0.5; P < 0.05). In the teenagers in the group that involved their parents, there was a significant decrease in HbA1c 12 and 24 months after intervention, from 8.9% (sd = 1.1) to 7.6% (sd = 1.3; P < 0.05, confidence interval 0.37, 2.26).
Conclusion This empowerment programme for teenagers with diabetes showed no positive glycaemic or empowerment effects. Empowerment programmes for diabetic teenagers in early and middle adolescence should include parental involvement.