Outcomes That Matter to Teens With Type 1 Diabetes

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study was to describe outcomes that matter to teens with type 1 diabetes. Understanding outcomes that matter to teens could support successful interventions to improve diabetes self-management.

Methods

Fifty publicly available posts published in the “teen” sections of 2 major diabetes online forums between 2011 and 2013 were analyzed using qualitative research methods. From each post, content and descriptive data (eg, duration of diabetes and age) were collected. Two members of the research team independently used open coding techniques to identify outcomes (defined as impacts or consequences of type 1 diabetes) and organized them into themes and subthemes. A codebook was jointly developed to facilitate the identification of meaningful outcomes from the posts.

Results

Teens’ average age was 15.7 years, and the average time since diabetes diagnosis was 6.3 years. The 3 most commonly mentioned outcomes were (1) interactions with peers (“I want to talk to someone who understands”), (2) emotional well-being (“Diabetes makes me want to cry”), and (3) blood glucose management (“My blood sugar never goes down”). Other identified outcomes included (4) physical well-being, (5) education and motivation of others, (6) family interactions, (7) academic achievement, and (8) interactions with important others such as teachers.

Conclusions

While teens are concerned about control of their blood glucose, there are many other outcomes that matter to them. Health care providers and diabetes educators may want to consider these other outcomes when motivating teens with type 1 diabetes to improve blood glucose control.

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