IDDM youths' perceptions of well youths' attitudes toward diabetes




Underwood, Tracy H

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


Youths with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) have been shown to be at increased risk for psychosocial problems (Davis, Hess, & Hiss, 1988; Lustman, Griffith, Clouse, & Cryer, 1986; Popkin, Callies, Lentz, Colon, & Sutherland, 1988). Social support in the form of peer relationships is thought to be a mediating factor in combating the negative effects of stress associated with chronic illness (White, Richter, & Fry, 1992). The beneficial effects of social support may not be realized if diabetic children and adolescents have misconceptions about the illness attitudes of their healthy counterparts. The present study examined diabetic and well youths' attitudes toward diabetes, examined the diabetic youths' perceptions of well youths attitudes toward diabetes, and measured both groups' knowledge about diabetes.

Participants were 147 diabetic and 117 well children between the ages of 7 and 14. They completed a diabetes knowledge questionnaire and a diabetes attitude questionnaire. The attitude measure was given twice with participants told to answer the first time as they normally would answer and told a second time to answer how others would answer.

Statistical analysis found that diabetic youths had more positive attitudes toward children with diabetes than well youths. Diabetic youths and healthy youths perceived a discrepancy between their own and others' attitudes toward children with diabetes with their own attitudes being more positive. Diabetic youths knew more about diabetes and assigned a lower level of responsibility for the diabetic condition than healthy youth. Knowledge about diabetes was found to be positively related to attitudes about diabetes. Implications of research findings were discussed.



Youth -- Diseases -- Psychological aspects, Diabetics -- Attitudes, Diabetes in children -- Psychological aspects, Health attitudes, Self-perception in children