Maturity in Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: A Concept Analysis

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Abstract

Theoretical Principles:

The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be a particularly challenging time for teenagers with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Adolescents with T1DM must manage a treatment regimen which requires a high level of responsibility and self-care. Often the responsibilities of self-care are given to these teens without a clear assessment of their maturity, resulting in poor health outcomes. In order to accurately assess a youth's ability to assume self-management of T1DM, a clear understanding of the concept of maturity is needed.

Phenomena Addressed:

The purpose of this paper is to provide a theoretical definition of the concept of maturity in the context of adolescents with T1DM and support this definition based on a literature review. This discussion was developed utilizing the Walker and Avant approach to concept analysis.

Research Linkages:

This concept analysis defined maturity in adolescents with T1DM as a multi-dimensional state of development that encompasses the physical, cognitive, psychological, and social dimensions of being. Maturity requires that an individual is capable of functioning with behavioral, cognitive, and emotional autonomy in self-care activities related to TIDM on a consistent basis. This explanation also emphasizes that the process of achieving maturity is gradual and dynamic in nature. Caregivers must understand that physical age alone does not indicate that an adolescent is adequately prepared to assume independent diabetes management. Nurses are in the unique position to assist youth with the transition from dependent diabetes care to independent self-management of the disease; thus, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes.

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