To Tell or Not to Tell: Disclosure and Self-Management among Adults with Early-Onset Type 2 Diabetes: A Qualitative Study
Maja Hykkelbjerg Nielsen1, *, Annesofie Lunde Jensen2, Anne Bo, Helle Terkildsen Maindal1, 3
1 Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
2 Steno Diabetes Centre Aarhus, Aarhus University Hospital, Palle Juul-Jensens Boulevard 99, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
3 Steno Diabetes Centre Copenhagen, Health Promotion, Niels Steensengade 6, Gentofte, Denmark
Adults with early-onset Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) are an emerging high-risk population who may experience social challenges related to diabetes management.
To explore the disclosure of T2DM and how disclosure affects diabetes self-management and the psychosocial adjustment to life with diabetes among adults with early-onset T2DM.
A qualitative study was conducted using Systematic Text Condensation (STC). Data was derived from semi-structured interviews with 15 individuals with T2DM ≤ 46 years (10 women and 5 men) recruited from diverse settings using purposeful sampling.
Most informants disclosed their diabetes to a close relative shortly after receiving the diagnosis. This led to immediate emotional support and overall positive disclosure experiences. However, informants often hesitated to disclose their condition to others due to shame, fear of negative judgement or social exclusion. Over time, the majority of informants became more open about their condition, which often resulted in emotional and practical self-management support. Those most reluctant to disclosing their diabetes struggled with shame and negative diabetes-related emotions, which had negative effects on their diabetes self-management.
Disclosure of T2DM seemed important for the social, emotional and practical management of diabetes among adults with early-onset T2DM. The disclosure was most often accompanied by feelings of shame and fear of condemnation. Professional guidance to support disclosure and interventions to address stigma may improve well-being and diabetes self-management in this population.
Keywords: Type 2 diabetes, Disclosure, Self-management, Qulitative study, Early-onset type 2 diabetes, Psychosocial adjustment.
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, Tel.: + 299 250639, E-mail: email@example.com