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Diabetes Educ. 1999 Nov-Dec;25(6 Suppl):25-33.

Characteristics of the learner: children and adolescents.

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Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut 06536-0740, USA.



The purposes of this paper are to (1) review the literature on educational interventions for children and adolescents; (2) determine what kinds of interventions have been studied, how effective they are, and their outcomes; and (3) develop recommendations for further research in the field.


An integrative literature review approach was used. Articles were included in this review if they met the criteria of being an empirical study reporting results of an intervention whose primary subjects were children with type 1 diabetes and/or their families, and published between 1980 and January 1, 1999. Of the 59 articles identified, 41 met these criteria.


The majority of the studies focused on adolescents. Results suggested that traditional educational interventions are successful in increasing knowledge but less successful in increasing quality of life or improving metabolic control. Psychosocial and family interventions (coping skills training) have been more successful in both quality-of-life and metabolic outcomes.


There is much work to be done to strengthen our understanding of what works under what conditions. More studies of younger children, minority youth, and families are needed using well-controlled experimental designs with adequate samples.

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