Self-care behaviors of college students with diabetes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Marianne Channas Cockroft (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Robin Bartlett

Abstract: The purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the self-care behaviors of college students with diabetes, compare their behaviors to college students without diabetes, and explore the relationship between select demographic characteristics on self-care behaviors of college students with and without diabetes. The target population was college students between the ages of 18-24 who completed the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II in spring, 2009. The self-care behaviors examined through an analysis of the survey data were related to food, activity, rest, and prevention of hazards to life as identified in Orem's self-care deficit theory of nursing. An ecological framework was used to describe the demographic characteristics, or basic conditioning factors, at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community levels of influence. A total of 1216 students met the inclusion criteria for age, with 528 students reporting they had been diagnosed or treated by a professional for diabetes in the past 12 months. Approximately 63% of the total participants were female and nearly 78% were White, Non-Hispanic. The frequency of students with diabetes meeting the self-care requisites was extremely low, with less than 10% meeting the recommendations for daily fruit and vegetable intake, approximately 30% meeting the recommendations for weekly exercise, and less than 5% achieving adequate rest. Prevention of hazards to life was assessed by examining the frequency of meeting age and gender guidelines for responsible alcohol use and recommendations for weekly alcohol limitations, not smoking, not drinking and driving, and using a seatbelt. Thirty percent of the students with diabetes met the gender guidelines for responsible alcohol consumption and 46% limited their alcohol intake to no more than 1-2 times per week. Seventy percent of the students reported smoking in the previous 30 days. Eighty percent reported they did not drink and drive in the last 30 days, and 70% reported they always use a seatbelt. While students with diabetes reported better outcomes in the self-care requisites of food, activity, and rest, they more frequently engaged in risk behaviors related to alcohol, smoking and unsafe driving practices than students without diabetes. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community levels of influence with meeting each self-care requisites. Predictors of self-care behaviors at the intrapersonal level included gender, race/ethnicity, age, grade average, stress, and health knowledge. Predictors found at the community level were status in Greek organizations, place of residence, and participation in organized athletic. Relationship status and marital status found at the interpersonal level were not found to predict the meeting of any of the self-care requisites. New knowledge on the self-care behaviors of college students with diabetes was developed. Study findings provide insights into the needs for education, further research, and anticipatory guidance from healthcare providers and parents as young people with diabetes transition into college. Study findings may inform interventions that will provide this vulnerable population with greater opportunities for academic success and prevention of long-term complications of this complicated chronic illness.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Behaviors, College Students, Diabetes, Self-care
Diabetes $x Age factors $z United States
Self-care, Health $z United States
College students $x Health and hygiene $z United States

Email this document to