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Keywords:

  • support groups;
  • Type 1 diabetes;
  • young adults

Diabet. Med. 29, 522–525 (2012)

Abstract

Aims  Young adulthood is a challenging period for patients with Type 1 diabetes as developmental changes complicate Type 1 diabetes management and gaps in care may arise as patients transition from paediatric to adult providers. This period has been associated with worsening diabetes outcomes. One approach to aid young adults during this transition period could entail professionally led support groups to enhance self-motivation and facilitate peer-to-peer interactions. We implemented and evaluated a support group for young adults with Type 1 diabetes as a pilot project.

Methods  Young adults with Type 1 diabetes (18–30 years) participated in monthly, professionally led support groups for 5 months. Questionnaires were completed pre- and post-group and chart review data were collected regarding glycaemic control and visit frequency in the year before and after group participation.

Results  Participation in the group was associated with improvement in HbA1c and decreased self-reported diabetes burden, along with a trend for an increase in diabetes-related self-care behaviours. Frequency of visits did not vary from pre- to post-group. Discussion topics identified by participants included managing diabetes in day-to-day life, experiences and interactions with others who do not have diabetes and emotions related to diabetes. Participants identified that they sought a diabetes care team that offers knowledge, support and a multidisciplinary team.

Conclusions  Professionally led support groups may have utility for increasing social support and optimizing diabetes outcomes in young adults with Type 1 diabetes.