Experience of family function, family involvement, and self-management in adult patients with type 2 diabetes: A thematic analysis

Birgitte B Bennich, Lene Munch, Dorthe Overgaard, Hanne Konradsen, Filip K Knop, Michael Røder, Tina Vilsbøll, Ingrid Egerod

10 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To describe the patient's experience of family function and its importance in diabetes-related self-management.

BACKGROUND: Many patients fail to reach the targeted glycemic level due to low self-management adherence. Knowledge is needed regarding the impact of family function on diabetes self-management.

DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive design.

METHODS: A purposive sample of 20 patients with type 2 diabetes. Data were collected in March-June 2017 via audio-recorded semi-structured interviews, field notes and Eco-maps. Analysed using thematic framework matrix and thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Four themes were identified: (1) Downplaying disease. The disease was trivialized creating a barrier to family involvement; (2) Second guessing. When diabetes was not discussed, patient and family made their own assumptions; (3) Going it alone. The participants preferred sole disease responsibility to maintain usual family life; (4) No regrets. The participants managed their disease with medications only to maintain family cohesion and 'the good life'.

CONCLUSION: The participants in our study downplayed the consequences of type 2 diabetes and chose to control their disease medically rather than by lifestyle changes. They renounced family involvement to maintain their lifestyle and promote family cohesion.

IMPACT: During clinical check-ups, patients should be encouraged to involve their family in lifestyle changes. Healthcare professionals need to recognize illness- and treatment beliefs and the impact of family function in disease management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)621-631
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • beliefs
  • diabetes type 2
  • family function
  • glycaemic control
  • HbA1c
  • lifestyle
  • nursing
  • patient
  • qualitative
  • self-management
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Family/psychology
  • Male
  • Caregivers/psychology
  • Self-Management/psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/drug therapy
  • Self Care/psychology
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Patients/psychology


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