Health Attitudes, Beliefs, and Risk Behaviors Among Adolescents and Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes

Children's Health Care 09/2005; 34:165-180. DOI: 10.1207/s15326888chc3403_1

ABSTRACT Decision making about engaging in health-promoting and health-compromising behaviors among adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes is an important but understudied topic. The purpose of this study was to describe the health attitudes, beliefs, risk behaviors, and general psychological functioning of adolescents and young adults with diabetes and to compare these psychosocial aspects of health to those of adolescents and young adults without diabetes. Fifty-three adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes and 53 demographically matched controls were recruited from 2 pediatric teaching hospitals and administered a confidential self-report questionnaire consisting of individual survey items and standardized scales. Compared to healthy adolescents and young adults, adolescents and young adults with diabetes had more frequent thoughts about health and sickness, rated their health as poorer, viewed smoking as less addictive, reported greater symptoms of depression, and reported greater exposure to smoking in their households, but less smoking experimentation. Poorer metabolic control was associated with decreased physical activity. Additional research on the design and implementation of diabetes-specific cardiovascular disorder and tobacco control programs for adolescents and young adults is warranted.

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