“…Part of My Identity”: The Impact of Self-Management on the Sense of Self of Young Women With Type 1 Diabetes

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Abstract

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of young women with type 1 diabetes and the ways in which their self-management of their illness may influence their perceived sense of self.

Methods:

Semistructured interviews were conducted with 7 women aged 18 to 22 years who had been formally given a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim, and subsequent member checks were completed. Returned member checks and transcriptions were then analyzed using a form of thematic analysis.

Results:

Three main themes emerged from the data including (1) “I just want to be more free, I guess”; (2) “It's just, like another part of me”; and (3) “I just kind of want to be normal, like I don't even have diabetes.” A number of subthemes within each theme were also identified.

Discussion:

Findings indicated that many aspects of the young women's day-to-day illness management routine impacted the way in which they viewed themselves. Key aspects that were identified by these women included issues with wanting to feel more free in terms of how they self-manage, trying to stay positive, and wanting to be normal, yet feeling as though they are still different from their peers.

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