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Factors that Hinder and Help Adolescents to Medically Manage Type-1 Diabetes
AuthorDillon, Elisha Ann
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Type-1 diabetes is a chronic illness that affects roughly 23.6 million Americans each year (American Diabetes Association: All about diabetes, 2007). This disease is typically diagnosed when an individual is around adolescence or younger. Adolescence can be a difficult time, especially for those that have type-1 diabetes. There are multiple factors influencing the choices of an adolescent to adhere or not adhere with medical recommendations about diabetes care. The purpose of this study is to address the following research question: What factors influence an adolescent, age 12-18, with type-1 diabetes, to adhere or not adhere to medical recommendations regarding their diabetes care? Upon completing a literature review, it was determined that there are few studies that focus on adolescents with type-1 diabetes that have been conducted in the United States. To address this issue, a mixed method analysis was conducted. A quantitative analysis was completed using participants (N=22) who were asked to fill out a survey on the online survey tool of Survey Monkey indicating the frequency of diabetes management behaviors that their predominant caregiver did during their adolescents. They were also asked what diabetes management behaviors would have been helpful or unhelpful using the Diabetes Family Behavior Checklist. Qualitative data was gathered by interviewing participants who consented to a follow-up interview and a key informant who works with adolescents with type-1 diabetes in the community. The data were analyzed using SPSS. Notably the "age of onset" variable was identified as the variable that most influenced both the frequency of diabetes management behaviors and the helpfulness or unhelpfulness of those diabetes management behaviors.