Using social media to understand adults' experiences of physical activity as a child living with type 1 diabetes

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Abstract

Challenges exist in facilitating engagement with physical activity for adolescents living with type 1 diabetes. These are known to include both physical and psychosocial barriers. Exploring retrospective reflections of lived experiences of adults growing up with diabetes may provide meaningful insights into these challenges, to help inform future interventions that aim to increase physical activity in adolescents living today with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

The aim of this study was to understand adults’ experiences of physical activity as a child living with T1D.

Social media were used (Twitter and Facebook) to allow adults to share their experiences of engaging in physical activity as a child with T1D. The digital stories (posts) were then thematically analysed to understand underlying factors affecting engagement (both positively and negatively) with physical activity as a child living with diabetes.

A total of 42 individual participants took part, providing 68 posts (44 replies from Twitter, 24 from Facebook). The six key themes generated as contributing factors that affected engagement with physical activity as a child living with T1D were: (1) Acceptance; (2) Education and knowledge; (3) Support; (4) Coping behaviours; (5) Identity; and (6) Perceptions of control.

Our childhood experiences may influence later behaviours as an adult. It is important to understand what factors adults identify retrospectively as influencing their engagement with physical activity as a child. Using social media to capture childhood experiences enabled the identification of six key themes for consideration in the design of interventions to support physical activity in adolescents living with T1D.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalPractical Diabetes
Volume38
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • type 1 diabetes
  • T1D
  • physical activity
  • adolescents
  • adults
  • social media

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