You, me, and diabetes: Intimacy and technology among adults with T1D and their partners.

Kimberly P. Garza, Lindsey E.G. Weil, Lindsay M. Anderson, Diana Naranjo, Katharine D. Barnard-Kelly, Lori Laffel, Korey K. Hood, Jill Weissberg-Benchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Limited research has examined the impact of technology on intimacy and relationships among individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The current study examined the experiences of individuals with T1D and their partners and evaluated the expectations for how advances in technology such as automated insulin delivery systems may impact physical intimacy. Method: The Insulin Delivery Systems: Perceptions, Ideas, Reflections and Expectations (INSPIRE) study is a multisite study examining expectations for automated insulin delivery systems among adults and youth with T1D as well as partners and caregivers. For the current analysis, data regarding the impact of diabetes on relationship intimacy were extracted from focus groups or individual semistructured interviews with adults with T1D (n = 113) and partners of individuals with T1D (n = 55). Results: Three independent coders conducted thematic analysis utilizing NVivo software. Two primary themes were identified: vulnerability in romantic relationships because of managing diabetes and the unique challenges of physical intimacy because of the use of diabetes technology. Conclusions: Participants expressed the hope that diabetes technology, and automated insulin delivery systems in particular, will offer opportunities for flexibility in their diabetes management. These options may decrease their sense of vulnerability through provision of greater control over diabetes management and when/whether to disclose diabetes, minimizing discomforts in the context of sexual intimacy, and reduction of fear about diabetes complications. Patient-reported outcomes and expectations for diabetes technology should be incorporated into patient-provider conversations about sensitive issues. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) <strong xmlns:lang="en">Public Significance Statement—The present study identifies expectations among those with type 1 diabetes and their partners about how new diabetes technologies may impact intimacy. As these new technologies become more common, it is anticipated these results will be useful to care providers and clinicians when discussing how technology may impact a couple's physical relationship along with the benefits and challenges these technologies provide with their patients. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-427
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • automated insulin delivery systems
  • intimacy
  • qualitative analysis
  • type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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