Being a teenager with type 1 diabetes can be tough, coming with an added set of physical and emotional demands. YES is a new type 1 education programme designed specifically for young people. Professor Forbes will test how useful young people with type 1 diabetes find the programme, and find out if it could support them to live well with their diabetes, potentially protecting their health both now and in the long run.
Background to research
Adolescence can be a really tricky time to manage type 1 diabetes. Young people are more likely to experience higher blood sugar levels and living with the condition can have a big impact on emotions.
While there are education courses out there that focus on the skills you need to manage type 1 diabetes – like carbohydrate counting and adjusting insulin doses – there’s less support for the emotional and social issues affecting young people.
The Youth Empowerment Skills programme (YES) is a new type of education tailored to the challenges of living with type 1 as a teenager. It was co-designed by young people with type 1, parents and healthcare professionals and has a focus on psychological and social aspects, such as relationships and attitudes to food and weight.
Professor Angus Forbes now wants to assess and improve YES. To collect evidence on how well the programme works, he’ll compare YES with standard type 1 diabetes care. Sixty people with type 1 diabetes, aged 14-18 years, will test it out for up to one year.
The researchers will measure how YES affects the volunteers’ blood sugar levels, wellbeing, confidence, and the way it impacts on how they manage their diabetes.
The researchers also want to collect views on different parts of the programme, so they will carry out interviews and surveys with the young people who took part, their families and healthcare professionals. This will help the research team to tweak and improve YES before they test it in a larger study.
Potential benefit to people with diabetes
Living with type 1 diabetes is complicated, and this can be especially true during adolescence. This study will let us know whether an education programme designed with and for the needs of young people with type 1 could help them to manage their condition as well as possible.
In the future, this could help young people with type 1 diabetes to feel more confident and in control, and could reduce their risk of complications.