A secondary qualitative analysis exploring the emotional and physical challenges of living with type 2 diabetes


  • Michelle Hadjiconstantinou Diabetes Research Centre, College of Life Sciences, University of Leicester
  • Helen Eborall University of Edinburgh
  • Jacqui Troughton Leicester Diabetes Centre, NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
  • Noelle Robertson School of Clinical Psychology, University of Leicester
  • Kamlesh Khunti Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, College of Life Sciences
  • Melanie J Davies Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, College of Life Sciences




qualitative, type 2 diabetes, biographical disruption, emotional wellbeing


Background: Many feel that their new identity as ‘someone living with diabetes’ does not fit with their biography. Some individuals may be able to re-assess life goals, adapt their identity and adjust to living with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). For others, the biographical disruption experienced with their condition may negatively affect their emotional well-being and identity.

Aim: To conceptualise and explore the emotional challenges experienced living with T2DM, using biographical disruption as analytical references.

Design and setting: Secondary qualitative analysis of data collected from 31 semi-structured interviews.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with people with T2DM in England. Data analysis was informed by constant comparative techniques.

Results: People with T2DM undergo a cognitive process when their biography suddenly becomes interrupted. Suboptimal T2DM can bring a feeling of loss of control over one’s future, and loss of independence. What used to be perceived as ‘normal’ is now perceived as something that requires regular management, negatively impacting their daily routine and ability to carry out activities that once used to be effortless.

Conclusions: Living with T2DM that is socially stigmatised can lead to poor well-being and may disturb one’s life biography. Strategies must take place to bring awareness to healthcare professionals of the impact and disruption that T2DM can have on an individual’s biography, identity and diabetes management.

Author Biographies

Michelle Hadjiconstantinou, Diabetes Research Centre, College of Life Sciences, University of Leicester

Diabetes Research Centre, Research Associate, PhD

Helen Eborall, University of Edinburgh

Jacqui Troughton, Leicester Diabetes Centre, NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom

Leicester Diabetes Centre, Senior Research Associate

Noelle Robertson, School of Clinical Psychology, University of Leicester

Schoole of Clinical Psychology, Professor

Kamlesh Khunti, Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, College of Life Sciences

Diabetes Research Centre, Professor

Melanie J Davies, Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, College of Life Sciences

Diabetes Research Centre, Professor


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