Title

Chronic Disease at the Age of Invincibility: The Influence of Diabetes on Participation in the Occupations of Young Adulthood

Start Time

15-10-2009 2:00 PM

End Time

15-10-2009 3:30 PM

Abstract

Young adults with diabetes face multiple challenges in balancing their engagement in developmentally appropriate occupations and the need to control their disease to prevent serious complications. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between occupational engagement and diabetes management in the transitional period of young adulthood. Young adulthood is a developmental phase characterized by relative freedom from both the supervision of adolescence and the normative roles and responsibilities of adulthood. Occupations stemming from this age group's salient developmental tasks (e.g., exploration, experimentation, risk-taking) are often incompatible with the degree of vigilance required to manage diabetes effectively, resulting in a high rate of complications. In this session we will discuss these issues as viewed through the perspective of eight young adults with diabetes who were interviewed for this study. Methods: Eight young adults from diverse cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds completed a series of six open-ended interviews dealing with topics including their everyday activities, lifestyle, and routines, practices and dilemmas related to diabetes management, thoughts and feelings about diabetes management, and other factors that relate to the intersection of disease management with other everyday occupations. During the interview process, initial themes were generated which aided in organizing and interpreting new data; these themes were continually refined as new data emerged. Following data collection, interviews were input into a qualitative data analysis program and coded so that they could be easily accessed for analysis purposes. Case profiles were also constructed, which summarized each participant’s unique strengths, challenges, beliefs, attitudes, habits, routines, and activities. These case profiles were used to organize the data generated on each participant and to facilitate the search for patterns and themes within individual cases and across cases. Results: Participants in the study demonstrated a range of techniques to negotiate the demands of diabetes management and the developmental tasks of young adulthood. Those who had access to different treatment approaches adopted treatment strategies that best suited their lifestyles. Several participants chose to deviate from recommended treatment plans, creating their own strategies through trial and error. The risk-taking and exploration typical of young adulthood often led participants into precarious situations vis-à-vis their diabetes management, but also led them to develop creative solutions to mitigate the impact of these occupations on their health.

References

Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469-480. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469

Carlson, M., Clark, F., & Young, B. (1998). Practical contributions of occupational science to the art of successful aging: How to sculpt a meaningful life in older adulthood. Journal of Occupational Science, 5(3), 107-118. Access Article

Clark, F., Sanders, K., Carlson, M., Blanche, E., & Jackson, J. (2007). Synthesis of habit theory. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health, 27(Suppl), 7S-23S. Article Access

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Oct 15th, 2:00 PM Oct 15th, 3:30 PM

Chronic Disease at the Age of Invincibility: The Influence of Diabetes on Participation in the Occupations of Young Adulthood

Young adults with diabetes face multiple challenges in balancing their engagement in developmentally appropriate occupations and the need to control their disease to prevent serious complications. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between occupational engagement and diabetes management in the transitional period of young adulthood. Young adulthood is a developmental phase characterized by relative freedom from both the supervision of adolescence and the normative roles and responsibilities of adulthood. Occupations stemming from this age group's salient developmental tasks (e.g., exploration, experimentation, risk-taking) are often incompatible with the degree of vigilance required to manage diabetes effectively, resulting in a high rate of complications. In this session we will discuss these issues as viewed through the perspective of eight young adults with diabetes who were interviewed for this study. Methods: Eight young adults from diverse cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds completed a series of six open-ended interviews dealing with topics including their everyday activities, lifestyle, and routines, practices and dilemmas related to diabetes management, thoughts and feelings about diabetes management, and other factors that relate to the intersection of disease management with other everyday occupations. During the interview process, initial themes were generated which aided in organizing and interpreting new data; these themes were continually refined as new data emerged. Following data collection, interviews were input into a qualitative data analysis program and coded so that they could be easily accessed for analysis purposes. Case profiles were also constructed, which summarized each participant’s unique strengths, challenges, beliefs, attitudes, habits, routines, and activities. These case profiles were used to organize the data generated on each participant and to facilitate the search for patterns and themes within individual cases and across cases. Results: Participants in the study demonstrated a range of techniques to negotiate the demands of diabetes management and the developmental tasks of young adulthood. Those who had access to different treatment approaches adopted treatment strategies that best suited their lifestyles. Several participants chose to deviate from recommended treatment plans, creating their own strategies through trial and error. The risk-taking and exploration typical of young adulthood often led participants into precarious situations vis-à-vis their diabetes management, but also led them to develop creative solutions to mitigate the impact of these occupations on their health.