Diabetes camp matters: Assessing families' views of their diabetes camp experience

Weissberg-Benchell, J.; Rychlik, K.

Pediatr Diabetes. 2017 Feb 6; 18(8):853-860

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Camp offers a safe and fun environment for learning new information about diabetes care and for trying new self-care skills. It is a place where children and teens are able to meet with others who also have diabetes and who share their experiences. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study assessed self-reports before and after attending diabetes camp on diabetes-specific emotional distress, diabetes-specific quality of life, and self-care behaviors by surveying campers and their parents from over 42 diabetes-specific summer camps across the United States. Parents (N = 413), Teenagers (N = 154), and Children (N = 116) completed both pre- and post-camp surveys. RESULTS: Parents reported higher levels of diabetes-specific emotional distress than their campers did. Both parents and children reported significant improvements in their own distress after camp. Teens reported improvements in distress but they were not statistically significant. Youth report higher levels of self-care skills than parents believe their children possess. Parents, Teens, and Children all reported significant improvements in the camper's self-care skills after camp. First time campers' and their parents' perspectives regarding self-care skills are consistent with veteran campers after attending camp. Self-reports post-camp reveals that campers and their parents see camp as a place where youth feel they are with others who really understand what it is like to live with diabetes. Respondents also report that camp is a place where youth are exposed to new technologies and where campers can try new self-care tasks.

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