Living with type 1 diabetes is challenging for Zambian adolescents: Qualitative data on stress, coping with stress and quality of care and life

G. Hapunda, A.A. Ali, F.J.R. van de Vijver, F. Pouwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
Psychosocial problems are common in patients with diabetes. However, data on psychosocial issues affecting patients with diabetes in Zambia are scarce. The present study explored sources of stress, stress coping strategies, stigma and perceived quality of life and care as experienced by adolescents living with Type 1 Diabetes in Zambia.
Methods
Semi-structured interviews were carried out. Three groups of participants involving adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes (n = 10), caregivers (n = 8) and health practitioners (n = 4) were interviewed. Transcripts were analyzed using a thematic approach.
Results
Stress was commonly reported by adolescents mainly stemming from social, psychological and physical sources. To deal with stress, adolescents often employed different coping strategies such as adapting, accepting and avoiding among others. Both internal factors (those relating to the patients themselves) and external factors (those related to the context of the patients’) influenced the patients’ quality of health care. In addition, low quality of life was an issue among adolescents and their families. Poor diet, low socioeconomic status and lack of medicine were factors affecting quality of health care.
Conclusion
Stress was an issue affecting adolescents; the coping strategies employed were sometimes maladaptive such as avoiding injecting themselves to escape stress. Several aspects of quality of life were suboptimal in both adolescents and their families, such as stigmatization, short life expectancy, low socioeconomic status and poor social participation. Findings show that there is an urgent need for a strong response from all stakeholders (governments, patients, organizations and companies) to improve diabetes care and living conditions for young people with type 1 diabetes living in Zambia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalBMC Endocrine Disorders
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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