OBJECTIVE: Diabetes summer camps provide children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes opportunities to learn about the disease and its management in a supportive environment to help improve glycaemic control, self-reliance and quality of life. The objective of this quantitative review was to assess the advantages of attending summer camps and study any adverse psychological effects.
METHODS: Studies with a pre/post study design in children and adolescents attending summer camp were systematically reviewed. Five bibliographic databases were searched and relevant data extracted. Random effects meta-analyses were used to combine the individual study results to derive pooled estimates and meta-regression was used to explore between-study heterogeneity.
RESULTS: Studies in the literature report short-term improvements in the glycaemic control, diabetes knowledge (DK), quality of life (QOL) anxiety, diabetes self-management and self-esteem. Thirty-three studies were identified, and those outcomes reported in five or more studies were included in meta-analyses. There were significant benefits with a pooled mean change for glycated haemoglobin (95%CI) of -0.59(-0.95,-0.23)% (-6.4(-10.4,-2.5)mmol/mol), and for standardised DK score of 1.99(1.28,2.70) but corresponding changes for QOL 0.17(-0.06,0.39) and for anxiety -0.32(-0.70,0.06) were not significant. However, all outcomes showed considerable between-study heterogeneity little of which was explained by study characteristics.
CONCLUSION: The findings suggests short-term benefits of camp on metabolic control, DK, QOL and anxiety in T1D children and adolescents, although the latter two were not statistically significant. Further research is warranted with more methodological rigor and longer-term follow-up to determine if there are long-term benefits associated with camp attendance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.