Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (MPRTM)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Ryan Gagnon

Committee Member

Lauren Stephens

Committee Member

Ed Bowers


Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a chronic illness that can be profoundly isolating. T1D often fosters a sense of 'otherness' that is difficult for those without T1D to understand, due to the persistent necessity to monitor blood sugar levels, administer insulin injections, and navigate the ever-present risk of severe health complications if the T1D is mismanaged. For many young adults with T1D, the sense of isolation is magnified amidst the numerous life transitions characteristic of emerging adulthood. Establishing a community of peers with T1D can help mitigate the negative mental and physical consequences. Through semi-structured interviews, this study examines these peer relationships in a medical specialty camp (MSC) context. Study participants (N = 12), all of whom are living with T1D, serve as volunteer camp counselors at this MSC. The aim was to identify common experiences among the volunteers and understand how these experiences influence mental and physical health. Key themes constructed from the interviews included a sense of belonging, reduced diabetes-related burnout, a break from the routine challenges of daily life, and a motivational purpose to return and serve at the MSC. The study concluded that a sense of belongingness is crucial for the successful management of T1D



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