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Pediatr Diabetes. 2019 Jun 7. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12873. [Epub ahead of print]

Psychological support for adolescents with type 1 diabetes provided by adolescents with type 1 diabetes: The chat line experience.

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Department of Psychology, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Caserta, Italy.
Department of the Woman, of the Child and of the General and Specialized Surgery, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Naples, Italy.



Age-specific preventive interventions by exploiting age-appropriate means are needed to effectively support adolescents with type 1 diabetes in facing illness and developmental-related difficulties. The provision of social support through a content analysis of messages posted on online conversations was examined.


Participants and moderators' messages posted to an Italian online chat group for adolescents with type 1 diabetes were content analyzed using a social support behavior coding system.


Of 250 adolescents approached (aged 12-18), 161 (64.4%) agreed to participate. 17,025 individual posts (10,735 written by participants, 6,290 by moderators) from 37 chat sessions were examined. Topics concerned management of the disease, diabetes-related problems, nutrition, and the emotional impact of diabetes. Social support was found in 30.64% of the messages (N=5,215). The frequency of supporting messages posted by participants was significantly higher than those written by moderators (X2 =20.025, p<.0001). Participants most frequently offered emotional (79.97%) and information support (16.21%), while moderators presented information (52.89%) and emotional support (34.56%).


How posting messages in an online group provides an opportunity for adolescents with type 1 diabetes to support each other and help health professionals to learn about the experiences of young individuals is discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


adolescents; chat group; online conversation; psychological support; type 1 diabetes


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