Background: Adolescents are developmentally in a period of transition-from children cared for by their parents to young adults capable of self-care, independent judgment, and self-directed problem solving. We wished to develop a behavioral contract for adolescent diabetes management that addresses some negotiable points of conflict within the parent-child relationship regarding self-monitoring and then assess its effectiveness in a pilot study as part of a novel cell phone-based glucose monitoring system. Methods: In the first phase of this study we used semistructured interview techniques to determine the major sources of diabetes-related conflict in the adolescent-parent relationship, to identify factors that could facilitate or inhibit control, and to determine reasonable goals and expectations. These data were then used to inform development of a behavioral contract that addressed the negotiable sources of conflict between parents and their adolescent. The second phase of this research was a 3-month pilot study to measure how a novel cell phone glucose monitoring system would support the contract and have an effect on glucose management, family conflict, and quality of life. Results: Interviews were conducted with 10 adolescent-caregiver pairs. The major theme of contention was nagging about diabetes management. Two additional themes emerged as points of negotiation for the behavioral contract: glucose testing and contact with the diabetes clinical team. Ten adolescent-parent pairs participated in the pilot test of the system and contract. There was a significant improvement in the Diabetes Self-Management Profile from 55.2 to 61.1 (P<0.01). A significant reduction in hemoglobin A1c also occurred, from 8.1% at the start of the trial to 7.6% at 3 months (P<0.04). Conclusions: This study confirms previous findings that mobile technologies do offer significant potential in improving the care of adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Moreover, behavioral contracts may be an important adjunct to reduce nagging and improve outcomes with behavioral changes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Medical Laboratory Technology