Living with Diabetes: Experiences of Inner and Outer Sources of Beliefs in Women with Low Socioeconomic Status

  •  Wimonrut Boonsatean    
  •  Anna Carlsson    
  •  Margareta Östman    
  •  Irena Rosner    


The purpose of this study was to examine the life experiences of nineteen Thai women of low socioeconomic status who were living with type 2 diabetes. A qualitative research design was conducted, and the women were identified by the snowball technique. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, and processes of induction and abstraction were used for data analysis. The theme “keeping equilibrium of one’s mind” involved two sub-themes: experiencing an unpredictable future and being empowered by emerged beliefs. The first sub-theme encompassed worries concerning health and fears of being a burden to one’s family. The second sub-theme comprised the experiences of continuing life without being conquered by the disease and believing in the natural law described in Buddhist teachings. These findings revealed that participants could maintain a balance among their concerns through empowerment by inner and outer sources of beliefs, particularly in Buddhist teachings. Despite the vulnerable situations caused by diabetes and low socioeconomic status, the women remained calm, with a consciousness to continue their lives with the disease. The Buddhist views on life, specifically natural law, assisted them to consider life with diabetes as simply a natural course. Buddhism served as a spiritual refuge and helped the women to cope with their psychological burden from diabetes. These findings may reflect the need for health care professionals to provide more holistic care that would assist patients to live with their disease. Buddhist beliefs can be used as a tool to assist Thai patients to empower themselves successfully.

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