Diabetic patients learning to manage diabetes are often at the mercy of trial and error. To speed up and improve the learning process a computerised diabetes simulator may be used for experiments with food, insulin and exercise without risk of inconvenience.
When measuring the impact of computer training, only 11 out of 58 diabetic teenagers wanted to participate in the study. These diabetic teen- agers were educated in four computer lessons and evaluated with respect to metabolic control, emotional adjustment, locus of control, self-esteem and ability to discuss treatment problems. It was not possible to recruit a control group.
In a few individuals there were significant improvements in locus-of- control, self-esteem, knowledge and diabetes related stress. Side-effects were an increased level of guilt and an alienation from medical pro- fessionals.
The computer training was considered to be enjoyable and of great value. Consistent with our hope, the participants regarded the computer simulator as a source of inspiration rather than as an instrument for calculating the optimal insulin regimen.
We conclude that although young people get more and more used to computers, still only a minority are attracted by this type of education. On a group basis limited computer training has no significant influence, but for certain individuals computer simulation may be a good educational tool.
John Wiley & Sons, 1995. Vol. 12, no 1, 18-21 p.