The empowerment process in people with diabetes: an Iranian perspective

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Abstract

Background

Empowerment and power are well-researched concepts concerning people with chronic diseases. However, few researchers have focused specifically on the process of empowerment in Iranian people with diabetes. Understanding the empowerment process could help health professionals facilitate empowerment.

Aim

To explore the empowerment process in Iranian people with diabetes.

Method

A grounded theory research design was used incorporating in-depth interviews to collect the data from men and women aged 21–73 years (n = 16). Data were collected between February and July 2007. Constant comparative analysis was undertaken to identify key categories.

Findings

Participants indicated being embarrassed by the diagnosis, thirsting to learn, living in the shadow of fear, accepting diabetes as reality, managing diabetes and feeling empowered were distinct but interconnected phases in the empowerment process. The empowerment process was influenced by cultural and religious beliefs including the concept of the doctor as holy man, accepting diabetes as God's will, caring for the body because it was God's gift, paying attention to symptomatic disease, and support from peers and family, especially daughters.

Conclusion

The empowerment process consists of several distinct but interconnected phases. The findings will help health professionals develop a deeper understanding of how Iranian people with diabetes become empowered.

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