Objective: YA use social media (SM) frequently. Diabetes-focused SM posts may offer support for those with T1D. This qualitative study sought to explore perspectives of YA with T1D on diabetes-focused SM posts.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted through videoconferencing with YA with T1D (age 18-25 years, T1D duration 1 year) . Ten diabetes-focused Instagram posts were selected, encompassing major topic areas identified in previous SM literature (e.g., humor, venting) . Participants viewed posts with captions and provided their perspectives. Interview transcripts were coded and evaluated using thematic analysis.

Results: Fifteen YA participated (age 22±1.9 years, 86% white, 33% male, T1D duration 12±5.7 years, A1c 8.1±1.6%, 80% pump use, 100% CGM use) . All participants reported using SM at least once daily, but very few reported viewing or posting diabetes content. YA reactions to posts encompassed four major themes: 1. Perception of personal relevance: many participants noted whether posts applied to them. While many posts were described as “relatable,” others were suggested to be more useful soon after diagnosis or in contrast to participants’ own self-care behaviors. 2. Reduced isolation with T1D: many participants reported the posts made them feel “not alone;” some noted their lack of friends with T1D and mentioned benefits of community. 3. Frustration about living with T1D: some participants expressed anger or annoyance with diabetes, especially about hyperglycemia and cost of insulin. 4. Appreciation of public displays of T1D self-care: many participants valued openness with self-management in posts, although some expressed hesitancy in self-displays. After viewing and discussing all posts, some participants reported they may seek out diabetes-focused SM in the future when they had not previously.

Conclusions: SM may be a source of community, support, and reduced isolation for YA with T1D. Further research is needed to assess SM as a means to improve self-care in this group.


T.Kaushal: None. L.A.Branka: None. K.Wentzell: None. P.V.Commissariat: None. L.M.Laffel: Advisory Panel; Medtronic, Roche Diabetes Care, Consultant; Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, Dexcom, Inc., Dompé, Insulet Corporation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Lilly Diabetes, Novo Nordisk, Provention Bio, Inc.


NIH/NIDDK (K12DK094721,P30DK036836)

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