MANUSCRIPT: As Facts and Chats Go Online, What Is Important for Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes?
Continued refinement of resources for patient information, education and support is needed. Considering the rapid development of new communication practices, the perspectives of young people themselves warrant more attention using a wide research focus. The purpose of this study was to understand information-seeking behaviours, Internet use and social networking online in adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1DM). This applied to their everyday life, including the context of diabetes and their experiences and need of contact with T1DM peers.
Twenty-four adolescents aged 10-17 years with T1DM were recruited from a county hospital in the south-east of Sweden. Qualitative data were obtained using eight focus groups, wherein each participant engaged in a 60-90 minute video/audio-recorded session. The focus group data were transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Some demographic and medical information was also collected. The three main categories that were identified; Aspects of Security, Updating, and Plainness and their sub-categories gave significant information about how to enhance information retrieval and peer contacts related to T1DM. Regarding the persons’ information-seeking behaviour, Internet use, and use of social media some differences could be identified depending on gender and age.
Sensitivity and adaptation to users’ needs and expectations seem crucial in the development of future online resources for adolescents with T1DM. To start with, this could mean applying a wider range of already existing information and communication technologies. Health practitioners need to focus on the areas of security of information and communication, frequency of updating, and simplicity of design-less is more.