Diabetes Mellitus Diagnosis for Young Adults 

Subject: Health Care
Type: Proposal Essay
Pages: 11
Word count: 2392
Topics: Diabetes, Disease, Health

Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that is characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels resulting from complications in either insulin action or insulin secretion (American Diabetes Association, 2014). The perceptions of young adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus regarding to their interactions with peers and family members often changes during the first one year after diagnosis. This change in perception often impacts on the lifestyle of young adults and brings about instability in their social life (Serrabulho, Gaspar de Matos, Nabais, & Raposo, 2014).

Background and Significance of the Problem

The changes in perceptions for young adults is a significant problem since peers and family members play a significant role in helping young adults cope with the psychological impacts of diagnosis. Monaghan, Helgeson, and Wiebe (2015), note that a diabetes mellitus diagnosis for young adults causes an unprecedented shift in relationships with peers, family members, as well as intimate others. In addition, Serrabulho et al. (2014) posit that living with diabetes mellitus has an enormous psychological consequence on young adults that ultimately affects their attitude towards their family members in a negative way. Nonetheless, research demonstrates that 67% of youth and young adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus feel comfortable with the support provided by family members and interact freely with their peers (Serrabulho et al., 2014). This thus shows that a significant percentage of young adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus change their perceptions towards the role played by family members and young adults in their lives. 

Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Study

The changes in perception by young adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus towards their interactions with family members and peers presents a significant problem. This is primarily because positive interactions are pivotal to the recovery of the patients. In addition, family members and peers offer invaluable support which is crucial to the ability of the young adults to cope with the significant psychological impacts brought about by the initial diagnosis.

The purpose of the proposed research is to establish the changes in perceptions for young adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus concerning their interactions with their peers and family members during the first one year after diagnosis.

Literature Review

Many scholars have addressed the perception of peers diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. In the initial stages of diagnosis, a clear difference in the interaction between peers and people around them can be seen. According to Monaghan, Helgeson, and Wiebe (2015), there is need to investigate the unprecedented shift in relationships among peers diagnosed with diabetes. Further, the information regarding diet, exercise, and medication that accompany diabetes often cause a lot of alteration of behavior among peers and even in family setups. Monaghan, Helgeson, and Wiebe (2015) stress that although many investigations have scrutinized the nature of diabetes and management strategies, limited attention has been paid to the medical implications that often change perceptions and relationships among patients that are diagnosed. Where contort is given to the young adults, positive attitude enables the patients to face their situation with a lot of hope.

Relationships and perceptions among young adults with diabetes would take a drastic change if cautionary measures are not taken to handle the message carefully. It is reported that many youths still find it difficult to relay information about the medical consequences of diabetes (Lehmkuhl et al., 2009). It is also argued that knowing the right way to relay information shapes the perception of young adults towards each other. This is the idea underscored by Monaghan, Helgeson, and Wiebe (2015) who postulate that to understand perceptions of young adults regarding diabetes patients, communication strategies in classrooms and medical camps should be strengthened. In a qualitative study on the perceptions of youths on peers with Diabetes Type 1, Berlin et al. (2015) note that there is a psychological burden on affected youths especially if their peers do not give them emotional support and information that borders on health assistance.

Although most young adults may report that associating with peers does not deny them the time to do self-management tasks, Valenzuela et al. (2014) opines that a significant percentage of youths completing tasks related to diabetes negatively affects their relationship with others. In certain circumstances, when a patient does not adhere to the diabetes regimen, social ties with peers are interrupted thus yielding different perceptions among the peers in the network. Valenzuela et al. (2014) cushion that these investigations are clinically crucial since all social networks have been previously established as determinant factors in disease management and ultimate healing. It, therefore, means that regimen compliance among youths is likely to cause different perceptions among the peers one associates with. Thorough research is therefore required in this area as it will report attitudes related to Diabetes diagnoses.

Any management program for diabetes should consider the role of adolescents, youths, and parents in the healing process. This is because clinicians believe such people, when fed with the right information, can positively influence the treatment patients receive from others in the society (American Diabetes Association, 2014). Additionally, a group intervention for patients diagnosed with diabetes empowers the peers to learn how to respond to those with diabetes. This positively impacts influences the perception thus giving a good image and motivation to continue with the regimen. Increasing social support for young adults is a strong proof that positive perception and disease management are possible for one who is on a diabetes regimen. Improved knowledge enables all young adults to feel part of a family that offers social and cares for their health needs.

Certain myths that have been associated with diabetes for a long time can be demystified through adequate knowledge. This will, in turn, change how diabetes patients are viewed in the society. Valenzuela et al. (2014) note that in the past, youths would attribute the disease to an immoral lifestyle. This, of course, would make the victim guilty of their situation.  If not controlled, some conceptual explanations that are given regarding diabetes negatively affect the adherence to the regimen thus a bad perception of both the victims and peers. For instance, diabetes has not only been considered evil but also that it only occurs to those who carelessly consume copious quantities of sugar. When one is labeled for not eating correctly and being too busy to watch their health, they are more likely to fail to adhere to the regimen thus compromising an effective management system. As American Diabetes Association (2014) reports, youths from diabetic families are more informed than their peers from nondiabetic families. Therefore, there is a group that should be thoroughly investigated with regards to perception, they should be those from non-diabetic families as they need more information to handle diabetes patients.

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Diabetes Type 1 is considered a chronic disease of childhood. It is, however, poses serious challenges to youths as they get into adulthood. This unstable transition period sees them move away from family members, friends, and intimate ones. Although many pieces of research have addressed critical health and psychological concerns, the general perceptions have not received adequate attention. According to Monaghan, Helgeson, and Wiebe (2015), the developmental stage of young adults as they transition to adulthood is very crucial. This makes health issues very sensitive to handle. In their comparative study, Monaghan, Helgeson, and Wiebe (2015) echo that the most recent research involving young adults aged 19-26 manifest different perceptions regarding diabetes Type 1. When tested on optimism, resilience, mastery, and self-esteem, young adults with diabetes Type one registered lower scores. This shows that they have a different perception from those without the disease.  Self-concept and maturation variables are scored low by patients of Type 1. This shows that they have a perception regarding self and regimen program. Regarding exploration and achievement, studies reveal that patients diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to show less proactivity to identity exploration due to their perception. This means that among young adults, diabetes directly influences one’s view of life.

The behaviors manifested by you adults in the first few years of diagnosis serve as implications for the future. These patients often face anxiety, depression, and distress. Therefore, they seek emotional support as they navigate other developmental issues. Berlin et al. (2015) opine that young adults will occasionally seek support from peers. If the assistance is adequate, management of the disease becomes bearable. However, when the needed help is not sufficient, harmful consequences often arise. This makes a young adult to have a bad perception of the peers. It is suggested that perception studies should be intensified because they are directly linked to patients increased the risk of diabetic nephropathy. When support and controlling behavior are not balanced, young adults are exposed to conflicts with peers and parents. This negative attitude towards each other leads to psychological torture, drug abuse and worsened health condition.  Strained relationships among young adults and parents promote poorer glycemic control and slower management program. In other studies, however, increased social networks may expand sociability, self-care, and glycemic control. These give a positive image of the networks. 

Although many studies suggest that increased support may lead to fewer complications among diabetes patients, Monaghan, Helgeson, and Wiebe (2015) observe that some instances are exceptional and should be thoroughly scrutinized to reveal the perceptions of the people involved in the program. The poor diabetic outcome is, therefore, a proposed topic for present and future research because it seeks to examine perceived relationships that influence the entire diabetic treatment program. The first one year after diagnosis is particularly important in the life of a diabetic. This is because it can ease management or make it more unbearable. It is, therefore, the objective of this paper to examine how disclosure of diabetic diagnosis affects the relationship between young adults, parents, and friends.

Research Questions, Hypothesis, and Variables

Research Question

  1. How do young adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus perceive interacting with their peers and family members during the first one year after diagnosis?


Null Hypothesis

  1. A diabetes mellitus diagnosis does not impact on the perceptions of young adults towards their peers and family members.

Alternative Hypothesis

  1. A diabetes mellitus diagnosis impacts on the perceptions of young adults towards their peers and family members.
  2. Age has a bearing on the perceptions of young adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus towards their peers and family members.

Identifying and Defining Study Variables

Variables denote research entities that are subject to change. In the proposed research study, the primary research variables will include perceptions, diagnosis with diabetes mellitus as well as the age of participants. In the study, perceptions will be the dependent variables while age and diagnosis with diabetes mellitus will be the independent variables. 

Operationalization of Variables

The dependent variable, perceptions will be operationalized to indicate a change in perceptions or a retention of existing perceptions. Meanwhile, the operationalization of age will entail placing the age of participants into age groups 18 to 20 years, 20 to 22 years, as well as 23 to 25 years. The independent variable, diagnosis with diabetes mellitus, will be operationalized to indicate either a presence or an absence of diabetes mellitus in participants.

Theoretical Framework

Overview and Guiding Propositions

A solid theoretical framework backs the changes in perception observable when young adults are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson (2014), posit that social cognitive theory (SCT) is one key theory that helps explain changes in perception and/or behavior. SCT postulates that individuals acquire novel behaviors, knowledge and skills by doing and observing other people in the milieu of their experiences, environment and social interactions (Wan, Rav-Marathe & Marathe, 2016). Behavior, the environment and personal factors constitute key reciprocal, as well as primary components associated with SCT (Vorderstrasse et al., 2014). As such, this theory forms the key basis for numerous successful diabetes mellitus self-management interventions (Vorderstrasse et al., 2014). The differential emotions, emotional intensity and self-regulation theories make a crucial theoretical framework that is pivotal to understanding changes in perception and behavior (Chew, Shariff-Ghazali, & Fernandez, 2014). 

Application of Theory to Study Focus

The social cognitive, differential emotions, emotional intensity and self-regulation theories constitute a solid theoretical framework that helps explain the changes in perception observable in young adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. The emotional intensity concept posits that emotions possess motivational properties since they furnish direction, as well as energy for the implementation of suitable instrumental behaviors (Chew et al., 2014). Chew et al. (2014), assert that the emotions influence concept dictates that an individual’s awareness, as well as consciousness, having dynamic neuropsychological activities result in consistent emotions-cognition interactions in impacting adaptive thoughts, as demonstrated in an individual’s behavior. The self-regulation theory postulates that the life of individuals who possess higher self-efficacy keep improving primarily due to positive self-feedback (Chew et al., 2014). 

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  1. American Diabetes Association. (2014). Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes care37(Supplement 1), S81-S90. and their peers. Journal of clinical psychology in medical settings16(3), 
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