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The contribution of art therapy in poorly controlled youth with type 1 diabetes mellitus

  • Shira Harel , Livia Yanai , Ronit Brooks , Yakira Bar , Tzvy Bistritzer , Shosh Ivgi and Marianna Rachmiel EMAIL logo


Objective: To evaluate the effect of intensive art therapy in youth with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Methods: A retrospective report of the characteristics and outcomes of all patients who were offered to receive individual art therapy sessions because of behavioral difficulties.

Results: The study population included 29 participants. The main behavioral difficulties were needle phobia and lack of compliance with nutritional recommendations or with insulin administration. The intervention group included 16 patients, with a mean age of 9.3±2.5 years, average intervention length of 0.77±0.41 years, and long-term data of 2.27±1.13 years. The control group included 13 patients, with a mean age of 9.3±3.4 years. Improvement was observed in 56% of the case group and in 23% of the control group. Art therapy was associated with a decrease in hemoglobin A1c in the intervention group compared with a similar control group (–0.79%, ±0.24%; r=0.17, p=0.025).

Conclusions: The addition of intensive art therapy for poorly controlled youth with T1DM may improve their glycemic control.

Corresponding author: Marianna Rachmiel, MD, Pediatric Diabetes Clinic, Department of Pediatrics, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin 70300, Israel, Phone: +972-8-9779133, Fax: +972-8-9779136; and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel


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Received: 2012-10-21
Accepted: 2013-2-21
Published Online: 2013-04-02
Published in Print: 2013-08-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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