Background: Emerging adults with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) undergo transitions that necessitate a strong social support system. The Diabetes Connecting Online Peers To Enhance Support (D-COPES) pilot intervention was designed by a multidisciplinary group of researchers and people with T1D to engage emerging adults in small-group discourse with “peer connectors” through virtual biweekly sessions and in-between text communication. The purpose of this study was to determine the peer connector's acceptability of the D-COPES intervention.

Methods: Five peer connectors with T1D (age 18-30) were trained to deliver D-COPES via 6 biweekly 1-hour group sessions, with text messaging between. Peer connector guides (n=24) included topic-specific discussion questions and resources. Topics addressed included disclosing T1D to others, diabetes burnout, and relationships with food. Semi-structured interviews with peer connectors were conducted at the end of the 12-week pilot study to learn about the acceptability of training, group dynamics, resources, and any areas for improvement. Data were transcribed and analyzed using a qualitative descriptive approach.

Results: Key themes included 1) benefits of training, suggestion to include 1 additional training meeting; 2) variety of peer connector guides, suggestion for additional topics (e.g., menstruation, intimate relationships); 3) positive group dynamics resulting from group matching and desire to stay connected after the intervention, though group size could be increased; and 4) peer connector benefits of increased knowledge, social support and opportunity to pay it forward.

Conclusion: D-COPES pilot was acceptable and will be revised (e.g., increased training and materials, larger groups) to be evaluated in a fully powered trial.


N.A.Allen: Consultant; Diathrive Health, Dexcom, Inc. J.E.Blanchette: Advisory Panel; LifeScan Diabetes Institute, Cardinal Health/Edgepark, Provention Bio, Inc., Board Member; JDRF, Consultant; WellDoc, Other Relationship; Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc., Research Support; Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, Speaker's Bureau; Insulet Corporation. N.Shah: None. B.Gonzales: None. A.Moraitis: None. M.E.Hilliard: None. M.L.Litchman: None.


Franklin S. Ivory and Rachael C. Ivory Foundation

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