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Exploring protective factors through positive psychology and salutogenesis in Danish families with type 2 diabetes

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People with type 2 diabetes (T2D) live with several challenges, which may enhance the risk of poor mental and physical health. However, despite living with a chronic illness, some individuals manage to achieve a life with positivity and well-being. The objective of this study is to explore the potential of Positive Psychology and Salutogenesis when analyzing how families with one or more members with T2D experience having resources leading to thriving. Data consist of 18 semi-structured family interviews with 38 participants. Data were analyzed using systematic text condensation with the concepts of sense of coherence and upward/downward spirals as the analytical framework. The analysis revealed three overall findings: (i) T2D is perceived as manageable due to general optimism despite living with a chronic illness; (ii) establishing supportive social relations means having the opportunity to share the burden of diabetes; and (iii) achieving an open dialogue and communicating the difficulties of diabetes without straining surroundings with negative illness communication. The three overall findings may reinforce each other in an upward spiral and enhance the sense of coherence. These findings have implications for diabetes management research and our understanding of psychological health in chronic illness. The overall goal is to help people with diabetes create meaning with their illness and make use of their social environment through dialogue and communication in order to increase positivity, optimism and mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdaab156
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2022

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