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

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A Karlsson

A Karlsson, University of Linköping, Sweden;


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


Qualitative study using a phenomenological approach.


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


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


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.


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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  • Source of funding: Vardal Foundation—for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research; Swedish Diabetes Federation; Federation of European Nurses in Diabetes.