Children's experiences of managing Type 1 diabetes in everyday life: a thematic synthesis of qualitative studies

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Abstract / Description of output

AIMS: To explore the everyday experiences of children (aged ≤ 12 years) with Type 1 diabetes to identify factors that help or hinder diabetes self-management practices.

METHODS: Eight databases (Embase, Medline, CINAHL, Web of Science, PsychInfo, ASSIA, ERIC and ProQuest Dissertations) were searched in 2016 to identify qualitative studies exploring children's views about self-managing diabetes. Data were extracted, coded and analysed using thematic synthesis.

RESULTS: Eighteen studies from five countries were included in the review. Synthesis of studies' findings resulted in the identification of three overarching analytical themes. The first theme, 'Understandings of diabetes and involvement in self-management', outlines ways in which children understand diabetes and develop self-management responsibilities. The second theme, 'Disruption to life and getting on with it', reports children's frustrations at disruptions to everyday life when managing diabetes, and how attempts to appear normal to family and friends affect self-management practices. The third theme, 'Friends' support', describes how friends' reactions and responses to diabetes affect children's ability to appear normal and willingness to disclose information about diabetes, and support provided by 'informed friends', or peers with diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the synthesis has identified how children's everyday life experiences inform ways in which they undertake diabetes self-management, it was not possible to determine new ways to provide support. To help children optimize their glycaemic control, further work should be undertaken to identify their need for support and which takes into account the potential ways in which parents, friends and peers can offer assistance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Early online date15 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


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