Schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes: Perceptions and understandings of illness management in everyday life

Sabrina Trappaud Rønne, Lene Eide Joensen, Vicki Zabell, Sidse Marie Arnfred, Jennifer Valeska Elli Brown, Rikke Jørgensen


People with schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes face complex challenges in daily life and the management of both illnesses is burdensome. This qualitative interview study aimed to explore perceptions and understandings of the day-to-day management of schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted between January 2020 and October 2021 in the participants' respective mental health clinics, in their homes or by phone. Thematic analysis led to four themes representing participants' self-management strategies and perceived challenges. The first theme showed that participants use self-learned strategies for managing schizophrenia. In contrast, they perceived type 2 diabetes self-management as governed by a set of rules and guidelines given by health professionals. The second theme showed that both psychotic and negative symptoms present challenges to diabetes management. Theme 3 illustrated that participants consider their type 2 diabetes to be a very serious illness. They worried about potential long-term consequences and expressed wishes and motivation to improve their lifestyle. The final theme showed that participants discuss challenges related to their schizophrenia with family and friends but not type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of considering individual challenges and everyday routines when supporting this population. It underlines the need for future research to further explore the complexity of managing the illnesses and to understand the needs for treatment and support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2023


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