Isolation, motivation and balance: Living with type 1 or cystic fibrosis-related diabetes

Mary Deaton, Stephanie Tierney, Christi Deaton, Kevin Webb, Andrew Jones, Mary Dodd, Diane McKenna, Rachel Rowe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Aims and objectives. To explore patients' responses to developing and managing cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and to contrast their views with those of individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Background. The incidence of diabetes among people with cystic fibrosis has increased with improvement in life expectancy. However, little is known about how patients respond to and manage cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, and how this compares with people living with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Design. Qualitative research was undertaken in order to fully explore meanings and views. Methods. Semi-structured telephone or face-to-face interviews were conducted with patients who had cystic fibrosis-related diabetes or type 1 diabetes mellitus, during which, they discussed diagnosis and management of diabetes. Framework analysis was employed to identify themes and to consider similarities and differences between the two groups. Results. Eleven cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and 12 type 1 diabetes mellitus patients were interviewed in 2006. Patients with cystic fibrosis-related diabetes described their diabetes diagnosis as a progression of their primary illness, management of which was important owing to the benefits it brought to their cystic fibrosis. Those with type 1 diabetes mellitus were more likely to report feeling psychologically low because of diabetes and to list long-term complications as a key factor motivating self-management. Both groups struggled to balance the demands of diabetes with other life and health obligations, and experienced isolation because of diabetes. Conclusions. Variation in perceptions recalled during interviews stemmed from diabetes being part of an existing life-threatening chronic illness in people with cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Similarities and differences in attitudes and management practices were found, with less urgency regarding glucose monitoring and fewer information resources available for those with cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Relevance to clinical practice. Both groups need support for optimal diabetes management and access to appropriate resources outside specialist clinics. Web-based technologies could prove useful for those with cystic fibrosis-related diabetes as face-to-face interaction may be prevented owing to the risk of cross-infection. © 2008 The Authors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)235-243
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
    Issue number7B
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


    • Chronic illness
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Interviews
    • Nursing
    • Qualitative research
    • Type 1 diabetes mellitus


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