Understanding the motivators and barriers for adolescents using digital diabetes technology to manage glycaemia in type 1 diabetes

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

Type 1 diabetes, a life threatening autoimmune medical condition, affects over 370,000 people in the UK at present. It costs the NHS budget over £1bn annually. Of this population, the adolescent age group are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality issues. The focus of support from parents/caregivers is to achieve stable glycaemia. This support also involves daily interaction with technology to monitor glucose and prevent serious side effects of insulin replacement treatment.This thesis qualitatively explored the lived experience of adolescents who live with type 1 diabetes, and the impact it can have on their families. Data was collected from interviews (n=7), an online survey (n=26) and a live opinion poll (n=19). The benefits and barriers of current diabetes technology for managing glycaemia in type 1 diabetes, were discussed. Four global themes were identified a priori based on the literature and a total of 34 emerging themes were revealed which contribute to a deeper understanding of the complexities of the use and acceptance of technology for managing glycaemia.Throughout this research study, it frequently emerged that participant's experiences of technology were related to improvement of glycaemia, in addition to greater control over lifestyle and dietary choices. However, many barriers were also uncovered as participants spoke of the effects of inaccuracy of the current technology, which often led to severe episodes of hypoglycaemia/hyperglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.Furthermore, visibility of wearing diabetes related devices, often left the adolescent feeling self-conscious and embarrassed. The adhesion of some current devices caused severe skin reaction, leading to reduced usage. Adolescents living with type 1 diabetes, and their families highlighted the need for technology to be predictive with warnings and alerts to prevent hypoglycaemia/hyperglycaemia.In conclusion, this research study unveiled the complexities of living with type 1 diabetes for the adolescent, which they and their families experience. These complexities are strongly associated with widespread barriers found when using current diabetes technologies. Moreover, these barriers can lead to a withdrawal from use. Improvements in accuracy and application, and reduced visibility of technologies for managing glycaemia are needed to maximise user engagement and benefit.
Date of Award1 Jul 2018
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde

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