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Review: patients living with diabetes mellitus focus on learning to balance by assuming control for the management of their illness

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Question What is the “lived experience” of people who have diabetes mellitus?

Data sources

Unpublished and published studies (including dissertations, theses, articles, and book chapters) were identified by searching 6 databases (Sociofile, PsycLit, Dissertation Abstracts, CINAHL, Medline, and Allied Health); the Canadian Nurses Association library; and refereed nursing, social science, and allied health journals and books published from 1980 to July 1996.

Study selection

Studies were included if they were qualitative interpretive research reports of the experience of living with diabetes from the perspective of an insider and included participants with diagnosed diabetes.

Data analysis

Data were analysed using meta-ethnographic synthesis (inductive analysis of data from individual studies, hypothesis development, and testing of hypothetical relations). Analyses of individual studies were reviewed by multiple researchers.

Main results

43 reports of 38 studies were identified (6 phenomenological, 5 ethnographic, 2 case, 2 focus group, 9 exploratory, and 19 grounded theory study reports). Most reports included only participants who were white (n=33) or who had type 1 …

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  • Source of funding: Canadian Nurses Foundation.

  • For correspondence: Dr B L Paterson, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 2B5, Canada. Fax +1 604 822 7466.