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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Improving Adherence in Type 1 Diabetes by Peer Mentoring: A Feasibility Study

Health Core ⟩ LRCC Lab ⟩

Subcontract Principal Investigator: Beth Pyatak PhD, OTR/L, CDCES, FAOTA

Oct 2011 – Oct 2013

Total funding

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the second most common serious childhood disease in the US, with the rate of incidence accelerating in the most recent decade. Studies show that effective glycemic control decreases the risk of T1D-related secondary complications, highlighting the importance of glycemic control, which largely relies on individual patients’ adherence to their treatment regimen. However, adolescents and young adults with T1D often have particular difficulty adhering to the often burdensome daily demands of T1D self-care. While it is estimated that 10–25% of adult patients have poor glycemic control due to non-adherence, existing literature suggest that the rate of non-adherence among adolescents and young adults ranges from 30% to 67%. Non-adherence can include not eating nutritious meals, not checking blood sugar regularly, or missing insulin doses. As a result, adolescents and young adults constitute a subset of T1D patients at particularly high risk for negative health outcomes. Our previous studies and other literature show that lack of empowerment is a significant barrier to adherence among adolescents and young adults. This study assessed the feasibility of a peer mentoring program which pairs adolescents with T1D with young adults with T1D who have successfully navigated the transition to adulthood, as a means of enhancing empowerment in both populations. The study surveyed adolescents and young adults on their diabetes self-care, barriers to adherence, social support, mental well-being, and peer mentoring preferences.


Type Source Amount
Private Children's Hospital Los Angeles (subcontract from CHLA; primary award to CHLA from National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH/NIDDK), 1R03DK094513-01) $7,169 (NIH/NIDDK award to CHLA $50,000)