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


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. 

Author Biographies

Taylor L. Neher, MPH, Texas A&M University

Taylor Neher, MPH is a graduate research assistant at the University of Arkansas - Little Rock School of Public Health working on her doctorate of public health. She recently completed her masters in public health at Texas A&M University. Her research focus is on aging and chronic diseases in young adults. 

Samuel D. Towne Jr., PhD, MPH, CPH, Texas A&M University

Samuel D. Towne Jr., PhD, MPH, CPH is a faculty member in the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences and a faculty associate with the Center for Population Health and Aging and the Southwest Rural Health Research Center within the Texas A&M School of Public Health in College Station, Texas. His major research focus is health disparities among vulnerable populations (e.g., rural, low-income, racial or ethnic minority, older adults) and geographic distributions of health-related measures (e.g., the intersection of health and place). His work spans studies focused on community-level influences on individual outcomes, national studies in the US and global health settings (e.g., China) related to health disparities. He is a central member of several cross-disciplinary teams involving urban planning, architecture, computer sciences, medicine, geography, and public health seeking to tackle problems from multiple social ecological levels.

Sarah E. Toevs, PhD, Boise State University

Sarah E Toevs, PhD, is on the faculty in the Department of Community and Environmental Health at Boise State University in Boise Idaho.  She also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Aging.   Dr Toevs has an extensive network of community partners.  A focus of her work has been to actively engage students and community-partners in projects as a means of maximizing outcomes and extending limited resources.  She has successfully administered projects funded through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, National Center on Elder Abuse, Idaho Commission on Aging, COMPASS (a regional planning agency), and the American Public Health Association.  The results of these efforts include technical and evaluation reports used to guide the policy and program management decisions.

Original Research Articles