Can an online program offer effective support to adolescents with a chronic illness and their parents who live in a rural or isolated community?

Type 1 diabetes is a serious lifelong illness requiring a strict regime of daily insulin injections and monitoring of blood sugars and food intake. While Type 1 diabetes is associated with a range of long-term physical health complications, including heart and kidney disease, neuropathy and blindness, over one third of adolescents with Type 1 diabetes also experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or behavioural disorders - more than twice the general adolescent population.

This research project examined adolescent Type 1 diabetes and involves the development and randomised controlled trial of an online combined parenting and adolescent mental health prevention program, called Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained. The program is for adolescents with chronic illness who live in rural, remote or socially isolated communities.

The Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained project aims to explore how best to:

  • provide an accessible parenting and adolescent mental health prevention program for adolescents with chronic health problems from isolated communities
  • increase parental competence and confidence and reduce parental stress
  • reduce the incidence of anxiety and depression in adolescents with chronic illness.

The Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained online program was trialled with adolescents with Type 1 diabetes and their parents to determine its effectiveness in helping young people to manage the impact of their condition, improve their mental and physical health, and reduce their risk-taking behaviour. The trial is currently in the data analysis and reporting phase, and results of the trial will be available in late 2013.

Adolescent/parent pairs were recruited by a rolling recruitment strategy through the Royal Children’s Hospital Diabetes Outreach Clinics in Victoria and the Monash Medical Centre Diabetes Clinic. In the future, the program will extend to families of children with other chronic medical conditions.

Read more detailed information about this project

Partners for Parenting Teenagers with Chronic Health Problems

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