03 Mar Peer Mentoring May Improve Youth Diabetes Control
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Yang Lu Ph.D
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
Dr. Lu’s research interests include utilization, cost and treatment regimen adherence of chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes; behavioral economic
interventions, and cost effectiveness studies
MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?
Response: Non-adherence is a serious issue in type 1 diabetes management. It leads to
poor glycemic control and peaks in adolescence and young adulthood. Peer
support is critical for young patients yet few studies examined whether
pairing youth with slightly older and more experienced peers with diabetes
improves their diabetes self-management and glycemic control.
This study had two aims:
(1) assess whether adolescents (as prospective mentees) and young
adults (as prospective mentors) with diabetes would be interested in peer
mentoring as a way to improve adherence, and
(2) identify contents and delivery modes for a peer mentoring topic from the perspective of patients and their parents. Fifty-four adolescents and 46 young adults with type 1
diabetes were surveyed.
MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?
Response: Although the youth reported high self-assessment of patient empowerment, the majority (87% of the adolescents and 80% of the young adults) did not meet
the glycemic control targets recommended by the American Diabetes
Association (hemoglobin A1C<7.5% for ages 13 to 19 and ><7.0% for ages ?20).
Many also performed many daily diabetes management tasks only sometimes. In
fact, about one-third of the youth reported experiencing social barriers to
diabetes management. At the same time, over half of the adolescents and
almost all the young adults were interested in the idea of using peer
mentoring to improve diabetes management. They suggested contents such as
learning effective communications about their diabetes and understanding the
importance of adherence to treatment and positive attitudes towards having
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Peer mentoring programs, if designed to meet patients’ specific needs, can
be well accepted by youth with type 1 diabetes as an approach to help
improve adherence and glycemic control. Clinicians can play a critical role
in identifying and connecting youth with diabetes who seek peer support.
To patients – you are not alone in feeling frustrated or burnout about the
daily management of your type 1 diabetes. Many youth experience the same
thing and most slightly older peers with diabetes would like to help out
through mentoring and coaching.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: A pilot intervention of peer mentoring which incorporates the
specific needs of youth with diabetes based on this study.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yang Lu Ph.D (2015). Peer Mentoring May Improve Youth Diabetes Control