(HealthDay News) – Internet-based psycho-educational programs are beneficial for young patients with type 1 diabetes as they transition into adolescence, according to a study published online April 11 in Diabetes Care.

Margaret Grey, DRPH, RN, from the Yale University School of Nursing in New Haven, CT, and colleagues randomized 320 youth (age 11–14 years) to either the TeenCope or Managing Diabetes Internet-based psycho-educational intervention programs. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and quality of life (QOL) were the primary outcomes, while coping, self-efficacy, social competence, self-management, and family conflict were secondary outcomes. After 12 months, youth were invited to cross over to the other program. Data were collected at baseline and at three, six, and 12 months; follow-up data were obtained for crossover participants at 18 months.

The researchers found that, over 12 months, youth in both groups had stable QOL and minimal increases in HbA1c levels, with no significant differences in primary outcomes between the groups. Compared with those who completed only one intervention, participants who completed both interventions had significantly lower HbA1c; higher QOL, social acceptance, and self-efficacy; and lower perceived stress and diabetes family conflict.

“Internet interventions for youth with type 1 diabetes transitioning to adolescence result in improved outcomes, but completion of both programs was better than only one, suggesting that these youth need both diabetes management education and behavioral interventions,” the authors write.

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