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Health Care Professionals Role in Support

Support is essential with dealing with any chronic illness. Four dimensions of support are identified that are specifically associated with the social support of adolescents: directive guidance, nondirective guidance, positive social interactions, and tangible assistance(Hanna & Guthrie, 2001).

Directive guidance is to �provide support of a practical nature, aimed at aiding the recipient in improving his or her performance through increased understanding and skill.
Nondirective guidance is expressions of intimacy, unconditional availability, esteem and trust�physical affection and listening to talk about private feelings� (Barrera and Ainlay, 1983 as cited in Hanna and Guthrie, 2001, p. 210).
Whereas, positive social interaction refers to �joking and kidding, talking about interests and engaging in diversionary activities�.
And tangible assistance is �forms of physical assistance (sharing tasks), and providing shelter, money, or physical objects of value� (Barrera and Ainlay, 1983 as cited in Hanna and Guthrie, 2001, p. 210).

For the purpose of providing support for adolescents in their transition of assuming responsibility for diabetes management, Hanna & Guthrie indicate directive guidance and tangible assistance as both, helpful and non-helpful ways of support. Not only in the care of adolescents is support required and needed but also with any chronic illness. Adolescents� describe parents giving and not giving tangible assistance as helpful behaviors (Hanna & Guthrie, 2001). Providing adolescents with support yet not taking over the management of diabetes and allowing independence increases feelings of personal control, in turn affecting self-esteem.

Hanna, K.M., & Guthrie, D., (2001). Parents� and adolescents� perceptions of helpful and nonhelpful support for adolescents� assumption of diabetes management responsibility. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 24, 209-223