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Identifying Factors Associated with Participation in T1D Support Program for Young Adults

Taylor L. Neher, MPH, Samuel D. Towne Jr., PhD, MPH, CPH, Sarah E. Toevs, PhD


Objective: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) has been shown to have a significant and stressful impact on an individual's transition into young adulthood. Young adults are often experiencing new levels of independence and decision-making at this time. Insufficient research has been conducted on the use and impact of T1D support programs tailored to young adults in relation to the emotional impacts of the disease, access to programming, and desired outcomes of programs. This study assesses awareness, utilization, and emotional needs of T1D support programs tailored to young adults.

Research Design and Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed on surveys collected through specific groups on Facebook (n=529). Logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with participation in T1D support programs.

Results: Approximately 41% of participants had been involved in a program or activity for young adults. The average age was 24 (range 18-30) with females being overrepresented (85%). Individuals who attended a T1D support program for young adults were more likely to disagree that their T1D: keeps them from having a normal life; feel their T1D controls their life; or feel their T1D takes up too much mental/physical energy. Individuals who attended T1D support programs for young adults were more likely to disagree that they: need more peer-to-peer support with T1D.

Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance for T1D support programs for young adults and the unique needs of a population with T1D. T1D support programs should be considered in combination with clinical support for better preparing individuals to transition into young adulthood. 

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