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In teenagers with diabetes, transition toward autonomy in self-management involved growth in self-reliance and support from othersCommentary

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A Karlsson

A Karlsson, University of Linköping, Sweden; agnka@isv.liu.se

QUESTION

How do teenagers with type 1 diabetes experience the transition toward autonomy in diabetes self-management?

DESIGN

Qualitative study using a phenomenological approach.

SETTING

Diabetes outpatient clinic in a children’s hospital in Sweden.

PARTICIPANTS

32 teenagers (mean age 15 y, 56% girls) with type 1 diabetes.

METHODS

Teenagers participated in individual interviews (45–75 min) and were asked to describe their daily experiences with diabetes, with a focus on self-management. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically.

MAIN FINDINGS

Transition to autonomy in diabetes self-management was complex; teenagers were sometimes willing to take responsibility for their diabetes management and sometimes not. Transition was characterised by the overarching theme of hovering between individual actions and support of others, which could result in unclear responsibility for self-management. There were 2 subthemes. (1) Growth through individual self-reliance. (a) Self-determination as a developmental process of making one’s own decisions included increasing factual and experiential knowledge. Teenagers felt that their parents had more …

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