Strengths-Based App to Reduce Diabetes-related Family Conflict

Researchers have created an app to improve relations between parents and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes.



Type 1 diabetes can significantly strain relations between parents and affected adolescents, and such familial conflicts can negatively impact diabetes management. This is why researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital have developed a web application to improve parental involvement for adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. The app was designed based on qualitative interviews with 10 adolescent-parent dyads and 5 diabetes care providers.

The mobile-friendly app, Type 1 Doing Well, uses a strengths-based approach to promote more positive relations between parents and patient with respect to diabetes care. The research team, which is led by Marisa E. Hilliard, PhD, notes that there are few existing interventions that explicitly use a strengths-based approach.

Read Why We Stopped Paying Tuition for Our Son With T1D

Now the researchers are looking to test the app. They have planned a 3- to 4-month pilot intervention with 82 parents, who will be prompted daily to mark positive diabetes-related attitudes and behaviors. Prior to using the app, parents will have been trained to recognize strengths, and they will have received guidance on providing constructive praise in person and via text (using a library of positive messages). The app will automatically generate a weekly summary of the teen’s most frequent strengths based on parental input.

The researchers are hopeful that this pilot study will demonstrate improved glycemic control, regimen adherence, parent-child relationships, and health-related quality of life: “If efficacious, this intervention has the potential to reduce the risk of family conflict, enhance collaborative family teamwork, and ultimately improve diabetes outcomes.”

Outcomes will be measured using data from HbA1c tests, blood glucose meters, the app (i.e., frequency of use), app user surveys, interviews to contextualize survey responses, and questionnaires to assess conflict and health-related quality of life.

Read Most D-Parents Underestimate Child’s Quality of Life, According to Study

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Audrey Farley is a former editor of Insulin Nation.