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Health Expect. 2013 Jan 14. doi: 10.1111/hex.12041. [Epub ahead of print]

Self-care support in paediatric patients with type 1 diabetes: bridging the gap between patient education and health promotion? A review.

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  • 1Pediatric Diabetology, Hospital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France.



This study examines how the term 'self-care' imported from health promotion has been used in the context of patient education interventions for paediatric patients with type 1 diabetes.


Thirty articles over the last decade were analysed, using a qualitative method of thematic coding and categorizing.


The term 'self-care' has been mainly used as a synonym for self-management of one's condition and treatment. Indeed, the activities performed by paediatric patients independently or with the help of their parents under the term 'self-care' fail to explicitly take into account the general health and life dimensions of self-care, as defined in health promotion. Although such dimensions are implicitly present when it comes to define the parents' and health-care providers' roles in supporting the children's emerging self-care capacity, their importance is acknowledged as a way of strengthening the children's and their families' capacity to respond to illness demands, rather than in relation to their general well-being.


The discourse on self-care in the field of paediatric diabetes therefore appears to be oriented more towards disease and prevention, rather than health promotion. The psychosocial dimension of self-care should be particularly investigated, as young patients need to be supported in their efforts to gain autonomy not only in relation to the management of their condition, but in their lives in general.

© 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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