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Are the social relationships of young insulin-dependent diabetic patients affected by illness?

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  • Medicine


In order to compare the social relationships of young adults with Type 1 diabetes with those of healthy controls, 80 young people aged 16–25 years were interviewed in-depth with a semi-structured questionnaire. Results demonstrated that subjects with diabetes had an equally high commitment to social arenas, but were significantly more likely to be socially isolated and were less likely to have very close relationships. Subjects had more attitudinal constraints with regard to having close relationships, and were more likely to report a fear of intimacy. They were less likely to have children, and many voiced their concerns regarding the impact their diabetes might have on both marriage and future parenthood. This study suggests that young adults with diabetes have more negative social experiences which may affect their feelings with regard to having close relationships. The absence of supportive relationships may impact on diabetes management; however this has yet to be fully ascertained in a young adult population.

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