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The experiences of middle-aged women with diabetes

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Kriesel, Margaret
Chappy, Sharon
Apr 13, 2009
Middle-aged women; Diabetes, psychological aspects; Diabetics; Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a serious health condition that affects women in all stages of life. With the increase in sedentary lifestyle and increasing obesity, the number of women who are at risk for developing diabetes and related complications is rising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2007), of the 15.7 million people with diabetes in the U.S., more that half (8.1 million) are women. Gender disparities have been identified. Women are more likely to be screened or tested in the outpatient setting but are less likely to receive acute care for diabetes. Although studies have been completed on the experiences of patients with diabetes, no published studies were found that examined the experiences of middle-aged women with type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to explore and describe the experiences of middle-aged women with type 2 diabetes. The research question was: What are the experiences of middle aged women with type 2 diabetes? The theoretical framework used for this study was Roy's Adaptation Model. This model provided a framework for understanding middle-aged women's adaptation to diabetes with regard to physiologic changes, role function, self-concept and interdependence on others (Whittemore & Roy 2002). Participants were solicited from an ambulatory health care clinic in northern Wisconsin. The sample was a convenience sample of six women. Data collection was completed using the researcher as the tool. An interview guide was used to ask participants open-ended questions to determine middle-aged women's experiences with type 2 diabetes. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data were analyzed using an editing analysis with each interview being compared to others to find similarities and differences and look for common themes to describe the meaning of living with type 2 diabetes in middle-aged women. Results may assist nurse practitioners and other health care professionals gain insight into improving care for this group of women. The results demonstrated the significance of middle-aged women's acceptance and adaptation to type 2 diabetes. Adaptation to illness within health enabled the women to develop self-care operations. Three themes emerged during data analysis: (a) dealing with denial, which reflected the women's disbelief that this could happen to them; (b) keeping diabetes in its place, which reflected integrating diabetes management into their lives, and (c) lifestyle changes, which identified their need to adapt their lives to diabetes.
A Clinical Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner -- University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 2008
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