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Children as young as 4 years of age with type 1 diabetes showed understanding and competence in managing their condition

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Q When do children begin to be willing and able to take an informed share in managing their diabetes care? Is it wise or kind to listen to young children and to respect their rights and goals?


Qualitative study.


Clinics in 2 London hospitals and in a commuter town in the UK.


A purposive sample of 15 children 3–6 and 10–12 years of age and a convenience sample of 9 children 6–11 years of age, all of whom had type 1 diabetes (age at diagnosis ranged from 1 to 10 y).


Children participated in tape recorded, semistructured interviews; most were accompanied by a parent. Children were asked about their everyday lives, when they first had diabetes, understanding and managing diabetes, visiting the clinic, future ambitions, and how they would advise a newly diagnosed child. Interview transcripts were systematically read and analysed for themes.


Understanding diabetes. 15 children were …

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  • For correspondence: Professor P Alderson, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK

  • Source of funding: Social Science Research Unit Childhood Research Fund.