UWE researchers seek teenagers with diabetes

Issue date: 28 April 2005

Issue date: 28/04/05

More teenagers than ever before now have diabetes and have to manage and plan their activities more carefully than their friends. How does having diabetes in your teens affect relationships with friends? Are friends understanding or do you experience pressure to do things that might have a detrimental impact on your health? Do your friends know about the symptoms of your condition and are they sympathetic?

Researchers from the University of the West of England are collaborating with colleagues from the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Cardiff University, and are undertaking a study to explore the support given to teenagers with type 1 diabetes by their friends.

The researchers are seeking teenagers with type 1 diabetes aged between 12 and 16 to take part in the project. Dr Nicola Eaton, a children’s nurse researcher working at the Centre for Adolescent Health (a joint research Centre at UWE and the University of Bristol) is leading the project. She said, “We are looking for teenagers with diabetes to tell us how their friends support them. We would like to find out whether teenagers with diabetes come under pressure to do things that might be a danger to them and develop an understanding of the knowledge their friends have about diabetes. It is our aim to try to help teenagers diagnosed with diabetes to communicate the facts about their illness to their friends. It is also hoped that friends will subsequently use their increased understanding about diabetes to look out for their friends with diabetes. This might include friends recognising symptoms of a ‘hypo’ and helping to treat it and ensuring that they don’t binge on sweets in front of their friend with diabetes.”

“Teenagers with diabetes face critical challenges when dealing with their condition beyond controlling the glucose in their bodies. As children become older they actively seek independence from their parents and this may involve conforming to peer pressure resulting in risk taking that could be dangerous. We are keen to gain an understanding of the support teenagers with diabetes get from their immediate circle of friends.”

This study will lead to the development of an information pack for friends of teenagers with diabetes developed by teenagers participating in the study. All information given by those participating will be kept confidential and they will not be identified in any publication about this study.

The researchers are looking for volunteers to take part in this project. If you (or your teenager between the ages of 12 and 16) would like to be part of this study please contact Ms Louise Dyer on 0117 328 8851 or e-mail Louise.Dyer@uwe.ac.uk. Or contact Dr. Lesley Lowes on 029 2074 5435 or 07971 643369 (mobile) or e-mail: lowes@cardiff.ac.uk

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