Lending an ear: "iPeer2Peer" plus "Teens Taking Charge" online self-management to empower children with arthritis

Childhood arthritis is common and makes everyday activities diffciult for young people. It is a chronic illness that can cause children to experience pain, fatigue and emotional upset. This makes it more difficult for children to see friends and do enjoyable activities.

When children become teenagers they start making more choices about their lealth care. But most teens do not learn how to take care of their arthritis on their own or get the help they need to be able to do so. Most teenagers with arthritis have also never met another teen living with arthritis. This is where online programmes and peer mentoring can help. Canadian researchers developed "Teens Taking Charge (TTC) Managing Arthritis Online" and "iPeer2Peer" to help teens learn to make decisions about their health, meet and be inspired by other young people living with arthritis. Teens who have gone through the Teens Taking Charge and iPeer2Peer programmes showed improvements in their ability to take care of their health, their understanding of arthritis and they have less pain. The research team of the current proposal actively engaged Irish teenagers living with arthritis, their parents and health care providers, using individual and focus group interviews, which revealed their interest in both programmes. The proposed study will pilot test whether an integration of iPeer2Peer with an Irish version of Teens Taking Charge is something Irish teens will use and be helpful in teaching teenagers to take better care of their arthritis, (i.e., is it effective and feasible?).

The overall goal of this combined programme is to improve the quality of life of teenagers with arthritis in Ireland.

Award Date
07 April 2017
Award Value
€296,794
Principal Investigator
Professor Brian McGuire
Host Institution
National University of Ireland, Galway
Scheme
National Children's Hospital Foundation Scheme