Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Betsy Bach

Commitee Members

Stephen Yoshimura, Annie Sondag


Interpersonal, Health, social support, Diabetic burnout, Needs Centered Training Model


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Health Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication


The purpose of this study is to determine what types of supportive communication Type One diabetic students need when entering college to decrease diabetic related distress. A training program for students living with Type One Diabetes was created on the barriers they face to effective disease management on campus. This training plan was developed using Beebe, Mottet, and Roach’s (2013) Needs-Centered Training Model. The main issue that appeared from the Needs Assessment was that students are feeling high distress when it comes to keeping with a strict medical regimen. What they expressed interest in was a need for information from the transition between high school and college. While students expressed the need for emotional support and to feel “not alone,” a main concern was information to increase the effectiveness when managing their disease in college. The topics that students requested are: time management, nutrition, stress, and alcohol.

According to Shalom (1991), college students living with Type One diabetes often ignore their illness. This lack of adherence to their medical regimen is typically due to both managing their illness for the first time, as well as having the lack of knowledge and expertise to managing their disease effectively. Albrecht and Adelman (1987) suggest a central component of social support is that it functions to reduce uncertainty. When individuals receive supportive messages it has the ability to reduce their anxiety and stress and increase a sense of perceived control. This training attempts at providing students living with Type One diabetes informative and emotional supportive messages. Informative support can be communicated by providing advice, factual input, and feedback regarding ones actions; while emotional support consists of messages that communicate caring, concern, sympathy, and empathy centering the training around advice on how to effectively manage their disease in college it communicates informative support. In addition, the training will allow students to meet others living with Type One Diabetes and share their experiences during the training. This provides them with the opportunity to feel emotionally supported, and emotionally support others.



© Copyright 2015 Kassandra E. Martin