Study to examine Internet-based
programs for diabetic children
The National Institute of Nursing Research has awarded Yale University School
of Nursing (YSN) $3.4 million to compare the effectiveness of Internet-based
coping skills training versus an Internet education program for diabetic children.
The goal is to improve type 1 diabetes management, metabolic control and quality-of-life
in adolescents. Leading the study are Margaret Grey, dean of YSN, and Robin
Whittemore, associate professor.
“Teens with type 1 diabetes are often the only student in their school
with diabetes,” Whittemore says. “They feel different at a time when
they want to be accepted by friends. We want to see teens healthy, both physically
Grey says technological advances and access to the Internet have made cyberspace
a viable tool for the delivery of coping skills training. It also allows health
care practitioners to reach more adolescents.
The education program provides age-appropriate information about healthy eating,
exercise, and preventing and managing sick days for youth with type 1 diabetes.
The teen coping skills program provides information and exercises to assist
teens with social problem-solving situations that may interfere with type 1
diabetes management or may be potentially awkward or difficult, such as telling
a new friend about their diabetes. Teens are also able to interact with other
teens in this program to learn from one another.
The sites use eye-catching animations and graphics and invite users to meet
other adolescents with type 1 diabetes online. “We have found that 40%
to 50% of kids could not meet with a group due to their activities,” Grey
said. “Now we are able to connect with them on their own time.”
Both programs were developed by Grey, Whittemore and their research team, including
Yale’s Information Technology department. The websites are password-protected
and available only to study participants in order to assure their privacy and
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