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J Pediatr Psychol. 2019 Mar 6. pii: jsz006. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsz006. [Epub ahead of print]

Randomized Trial of a Positive Psychology Intervention for Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes.

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Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
School of Nursing, Yale University.
Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.



To evaluate the effects of a positive psychology intervention for adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D) on adherence, glycemic control, and quality of life.


Adolescents with T1D (n = 120) and their caregivers were randomized to either an Education (EDU) (n = 60) or Positive Affect (PA) intervention (n = 60). Adolescents in the PA group received the intervention reminders (gratitude, self-affirmation, parental affirmation, and small gifts) via text messages or phone calls over 8 weeks. Questionnaires were completed by adolescents and caregivers and clinical data (glucometer and HbA1c) were collected at baseline 3 and 6 months. Data were analyzed using generalized linear modeling.


After adjusting for covariates, adolescents in the PA group demonstrated significant improvement in quality of life at 3 months, compared to the EDU group, but this was not sustained at 6 months. Similarly, the PA group showed a significant decrease in disengagement coping at 3 months but not at 6 months. There was no significant intervention effect on blood glucose monitoring, but the odds of clinically significantly improvement (checking at least one more time/day) were about twice as high in the PA group as the EDU group. No significant effects were found for glycemic control.


A positive psychology intervention had initial significant, positive effects on coping and quality of life in adolescents with T1D. A more intensive or longer-lasting intervention may be needed to sustain these effects and to improve adherence and glycemic control.


adherence; coping skills and adjustment; diabetes; intervention outcome; quality of life


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