Early intervention programmes for teens with type 1 diabetes can help prevent burnout

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 28 Jun 2018
Early intervention programmes for teens with type 1 diabetes can help prevent burnout
Introducing intervention programmes early to teenagers who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can prevent associated emotional problems, researchers have said.

A team from Stanford University in California wanted to explore the best way to combat diabetes distress (DD), known as a diabetes burnout, which refers to the emotional burden a person may experience as a result of daily diabetes management.

Previous studies have shown burnout can affect 44% of people who are diagnosed with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

This Supporting Teens Problem Solving (STePS) study involved 264 teenagers with type 1 diabetes. Some of them were asked to follow the Penn Resilience Program for type 1 diabetes (PRP T1D), and the rest participated in Advanced Diabetes Education.

The PRP T1D Program is an 18-lesson curriculum that is specifically aimed at young people. It enables them to develop skills that empower them to be more resilient in dealing with situations both in and out of school.

The sessions help the young participants to develop skills in emotion control and emotional awareness, problem solving, assertiveness, peer relationships, and decision-making.

The interventions took place across four-and-a-half months and researchers monitored all participants at various stages from the beginning, right through to 16 months after completion.

They found there was significant reductions in diabetes distress among those who took part in the PRP T1D. A year later the PRP T1D group displayed glycemic control, resilience characteristics and signs of depressive symptoms were stable.

However, both groups had difficulty maintaining strong diabetes management.

The authors concluded: "Intervening before symptoms of psychological distress start can prevent the development of the DD commonly seen in adolescents with type 1 diabetes."

The research team now plan to further monitor health outcomes to see how the programme helps people two and three years on from participating.

The findings have been published in the journal Diabetes Care.
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