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A team of researchers from Yale University was recently awarded the Applied Nursing Research Award for its study on teaching coping skills to adolescents with diabetes.
The study found that teaching coping skills significantly improves an adolescent's metabolic control over the disease, as well as his or her overall quality of life.
The research was headed up by Margaret Grey, who is an associate dean at Yale. The findings of the study were coauthored by Elizabeth Boland and Marianne Davis at the Yale School of Nursing, as well as William Tamborlane, professor at the Yale School of Medicine. Tamborlane is one of the investigators of the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial.
The research team took a sample of 77 adolescents who were receiving treatment for type 1 diabetes. The youths were then divided into two groups. One group received standard treatment, and the other group received standard treatment plus coping skills training.
After six months, Grey's team found that the adolescents who had received coping skills training showed a 42 percent improvement in their metabolic control over the group who did not receive coping skills training. They also scored better on quality of life measurements, and reported fewer worries about their diabetes.
It was reported in the study that all young people, including those without diabetes, are resistant to insulin as they go through the biological changes of adolescence. Grey asserts that a type 1 adolescent's coping skills with parental control and peer pressure are considered essential. Rebellion against parental authority could lead to poor maintenance of insulin treatment, and excessive drinking could affect blood sugar.
"Parents are reluctant to give up management of their kids' diabetes because they don't feel the kids are responsible enough to do what they have to do," said Grey. "These adolescents will soon be young adults, however, and they will need some experience in maintaining their own health."
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