Document Type



BACKGROUND: Investigating individual, as opposed to predetermined, quality of life domains may yield important information about quality of life. This study investigated the individual quality of life domains nominated by youth with type 1 diabetes.

METHODS: Eighty young people attending a diabetes summer camp completed the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life-Direct Weighting interview, which allows respondents to nominate and evaluate their own quality of life domains.

RESULTS: The most frequently nominated life domains were 'family', 'friends', 'diabetes', 'school', and 'health' respectively; ranked in terms of importance, domains were 'religion', 'family', 'diabetes', 'health', and 'the golden rule'; ranked in order of satisfaction, domains were 'camp', 'religion', 'pets', and 'family' and 'a special person' were tied for fifth. Respondent age was significantly positively associated with the importance of 'friends', and a significantly negatively associated with the importance of 'family'. Nearly all respondents nominated a quality of life domain relating to physical status, however, the specific physical status domain and the rationale for its nomination varied. Some respondents nominated 'diabetes' as a domain and emphasized diabetes 'self-care behaviors' in order to avoid negative health consequences such as hospitalization. Other respondents nominated 'health' and focused more generally on 'living well with diabetes'. In an ANOVA with physical status domain as the independent variable and age as the dependent variable, participants who nominated 'diabetes' were younger (M = 12.9 years) than those who nominated 'health' (M = 15.9 years). In a second ANOVA, with rationale for nomination the physical status domain as the independent variable, and age as the dependent variable, those who emphasized 'self care behaviors' were younger (M = 11.8 years) than those who emphasized 'living well with diabetes' (M = 14.6 years). These differences are discussed in terms of cognitive development and in relation to the decline in self-care and glycemic control often observed during adolescence.

CONCLUSIONS: Respondents nominated many non-diabetes life domains, underscoring that QOL is multidimensional. Subtle changes in conceptualization of diabetes and health with increasing age may reflect cognitive development or disease adjustment, and speak to the need for special attention to adolescents. Understanding individual quality of life domains can help clinicians motivate their young patients with diabetes for self-care. Future research should employ a larger, more diverse sample, and use longitudinal designs.


Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2004, 2:54 (22 September 2004)