Perception of the impact of Type 1 diabetes is influenced by age at diagnosis

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While up to half of all Type 1 diabetes cases are diagnosed in adulthood, little is known about how the diagnosis is experienced in this population. To address this, we explored personal experiences of adults in relation to the impact the diagnosis had on their lives.
We undertook a longitudinal qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews. We recruited 30 adults from specialist clinics in Denmark (n=14) and the UK (n=16). Participants with a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in the last three years were recruited. Narrative analysis was used focusing on differences between the narratives of those diagnosed in younger and older adulthood.
Participants’ age ranged from 20-67 years, 16 were male, the median diabetes duration 23.5 months. While all participants identified Type 1 diabetes as a major disruption in their lives, differences were observed according to age at diagnosis. Those who were diagnosed under the age of 30 were in a process of developing their identity and making adaptations to form their lives and were largely able to consider positive consequences of their diagnosis. On the contrary, the older participants, who had already formed their identity and settled with ways of conducting their lives, felt that diabetes challenged their sense of identity and direction which negatively affected their quality of life.
The personal perceptions of the impact of Type 1 diabetes is influenced by the amount of life lived before the diagnosis. These differences should be considered when supporting adults with new onset Type 1 diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberP451
Pages (from-to)177
Number of pages1
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2018
EventDiabetes UK Annual Professional Conference - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Mar 201816 Mar 2018


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