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Measuring the Impact of a Medical Specialty Camp: Using Self-Determination Theory

Eddie Hill, Ryan Gagnon, Ron Ramsing, Jennifer Goff, Betsy Kennedy, Taylor Hooker


Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses facing youth. The American Diabetes Association (2012) states camps for children and youth that are focused on diabetes are invaluable. Medical camp programs for youth with illnesses have been shown to increase self-esteem, self-image, and motivation. Grounded in self-determination theory, this medical specialty camp took place in the eastern portion of the United States in the summer of 2014. Campers reported significantly higher levels of perceived competence of diabetes knowledge from pre (M  = 5.11, SD  = 1.05) to post-camp (M  = 5.15, SD  = 1.02), a mean increase of .04, 95% CI [4.78, 5.68], [F (1, 11) = 8.56, p  = .014, partial η. = .438]. This data is useful as CTRSs, recreation therapy students, and other healthcare professionals continue to program for medical specialty camps. This evidence-based medical camp can create a standard for diabetes camps to better prepare youth to manage their diabetes as they transition to healthy young adults.


diabetes; medical speciality camp; self-determination theory; youth; outcome-focused programming; recreation therapy

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