Teens Taught Coping Skills Can Lower Blood Sugar

Researchers found that teaching coping skills significantly improves an adolescent’s metabolic control over diabetes, as well as his or her overall quality of life.

According to newswire reports, a team of researchers, headed by Margaret Grey, associate dean at Yale University, found that after six months, adolescents receiving coping skills training showed a 42 percent improvement in their metabolic control over a group who did not receive coping skills training. They also scored better on quality of life measurements, and reported fewer worries about their diabetes.

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.

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 how an adolescent deals with parental control and peer pressure is considered essential. Rebellion against parental authority could lead to poor maintenance of insulin treatment, and excessive drinking could affect blood sugar.

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. The researchers were awarded the Applied Nursing Research Award for the study.

“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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