More Than Self-Management: Positive Youth Development at an Inclusive Type 1 Diabetic Camp


  • Theresa Beesley McGill University Faculty of Medicine
  • Michael C. Riddell York University School of Kinesiology and Health Science
  • Jessica Fraser-Thomas York University School of Kinesiology and Health Science



positive youth development, type 1 diabetes mellitus, sport camp, youth chronic disease


Diabetes-focused camps emerged as a way to provide ongoing diabetes self-management education to youth and their families in a physically active context. Past research suggests participation at camp can enhance youths’ glycemic control and glucose monitoring abilities; however, recent studies claim camps can also offer psychological and social benefits. Drawing upon a positive youth development (PYD) approach, the current study examined an inclusive diabetic-focused youth sport camp to (a) identify life skills developed, and (b) explain processes and factors involved in youths’ development of life skills. Focus groups were conducted with 54 youth living with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) attending an inclusive T1DM sport camp. The model of PYD through sport (Holt et al., 2017) guided the analysis. PYD outcomes (i.e., life skills developed through the camp) were (a) enhanced self-efficacy for self-monitoring of blood glucose, (b) enhanced self-efficacy for sport while living with T1DM, and (c) development of positive relationships. These outcomes were facilitated through the camp’s inclusive approach (i.e., including youth living with and without T1DM), and a PYD climate (implicitly), which included supportive relationships with counsellors and peers, and interestingly, the lack of parental involvement at the camp. The camp’s explicit life skills program focus (i.e., on diabetes self-care skills) also facilitated these outcomes. This study gives camp professionals insight into how an inclusive T1DM sport camp can facilitate life skills, and optimize PYD.


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