A metasynthesis of the self-management of type 2 diabetes

Qual Health Res. 2011 Jun;21(6):853-71. doi: 10.1177/1049732311402096. Epub 2011 Mar 23.


Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by chronically elevated blood glucose and high risk of comorbidities. In this article we report a metasynthesis of the 21st-Century qualitative research concerning the self-management of type 2 diabetes. We identified 38 relevant articles (sample size range 6 to 175), which were synthesized through a process of iterative reading and theory development. In this literature, authors argued and assumed that diabetes management is influenced by multiple, complex, competing factors, including interpersonal relations, gender, and sociocultural context. Conversely, self-management was sometimes construed as a facet of individual agency and was accepted uncritically, placing accountability for health with patients themselves. We conclude that a satisfactory account of diabetes care would pay attention to the "inner" world, while acknowledging the social and political conditions in which diabetes-related experiences unfold.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Care*
  • Young Adult