Empowering Young Women with Type 1 Diabetes: Evaluating a Peer-Led Diabetes Support Group


Katie Savin: 0000-0001-8155-0749


Social Work


This pilot study aims to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a peer-led support group for young women with type 1 diabetes - the fi rst of its kind in current literature. We also explore the impact of support group attendance on group members’ diabetes management and distress. The support group was run at no direct cost, using donated meeting space and volunteer time. Participants (n=14) were directed to the online survey via support group listserv emails and fl yers. Qualitative outcomes were measured with open-ended questions and were analyzed using the thematic analysis approach to coding. Quantitative outcomes were measured using demographic information, selfreported A1C levels, and frequency of endocrinologist visits and support group meetings attended. The overall impression of the group experience was that it fi lled a void in participants’ diabetes care and that more frequent group meetings were desired. Qualitative responses revealed three major themes of group impact on participants: validation of diabetes-related struggles, reduction of isolation, and increases in perceived self-efficacy of diabetes management. Selfreported pre-support group A1C ranged from 6.8%-13.1% with a mean of 8.7%. The mean dropped to 8.0% with a range of 6.0%-10.0% after group attendance. Equal numbers of participants regularly went to an endocrinologist pre- and post- group attendance. The fi ndings of this novel study suggest psychosocial benefi ts for young women with type 1 diabetes resulting from attending a peer-led support group. Though self-report is a limitation, findings suggest that participation has the potential to lower A1C. This study is an important contribution to the literature because it assesses an under-researched yet potentially efficacious and cost-effective intervention. Results suggest that clinicians should include support and advocacy for starting peer-led groups. Larger scale and longitudinal research is needed to reinforce and further these initial findings.

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date


Publication Title

American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions


American Diabetes Association

Conference Dates

June 21-25, 2013

Conference Location

Chicago, IL

This document is currently not available here.