Young adult women's meaning making of living with Type 1 Diabetes
Diabetes is described as an always-present disease and an ongoing process of adjustment. Diabetes has an impact on the emotional, psychological and social functioning of the young adult. According to the International Diabetes Federation (2008), diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in developed countries. Managing type 1 diabetes, especially during young adulthood, is considered to be a complex process. The majority of research on diabetes in young adults is based on the reports of healthcare professionals and parents speaking on behalf of the person with diabetes, while the young adult has no ‘voice’. Type 1 diabetes is primarily researched as a medical condition, and an examination of the subjective experience thereof is neglected. In spite of improvements in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, many young people do not achieve optimal outcomes. The experiences of diagnosed young women have scarcely been investigated. It is thus argued that there is a need for a more personal focus, exploring the meaning making of young women with type 1 diabetes. The study focused on the experiences of women to keep the sample homogeneous. The aim of this study was to explore young women’s meaning making of living with type 1 diabetes, with the hope of informing clinical practice and improving support to people with diabetes. A qualitative research approach with an interpretative phenomenological analysis method was adopted. The research question of this study was: How do young adult women between the ages of 18 and 25 make meaning of living with type 1 diabetes? A non-random, purposive sample was utilised, and the final sample consisted of six young women between the ages of 18 and 25, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and attending the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology in Parktown. The meaning-making process was explored by means of in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. The transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis, focusing on identifiable themes. The results of the analysis are considered in light of existing literature on meaning making, specifically Park and Folkman’s (1997) meaning-making model. From the findings, the following themes were identified: (1) the process of reappraising a life with diabetes; (2) the development of diabetes as a lifestyle; and (3) meanings made. The study demonstrates the importance of meaning making in living with type 1 diabetes. Recommendations in this study include the inclusion of a holistic approach in diabetes care.
- Health Sciences