The study identified parents' and adolescents' perceptions of helpful and nonhelpful support, specific to adolescents' assumption of responsibility for diabetes management. Sixteen pairs of parents and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (11-18 years of age) were interviewed. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed for manifest content according to social support dimensions identified by Barrera and Ainlay (1983). Inter-rater agreement between primary investigator and doctorally prepared diabetes nurse and educator was 100%. Both parents and adolescents describe directive guidance and tangible assistance as helpful and nonhelpful, depending on degree of directness and perceived need for help. Nurses can encourage parents to use subtle guidance and adolescents to communicate their needs.
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