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Veterans' Experiences With Diabetes: A Qualitative Analysis.

DiNardo MM, Phares AD, Jones HE, Beyer NM, Suss SJ, McInnes S, Rodriguez KL. Veterans' Experiences With Diabetes: A Qualitative Analysis. The Diabetes educator. 2020 Dec 1; 46(6):607-616.

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PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to explore an understanding of the psychosocial-behavioral impact of diabetes self-management among veterans with diabetes. METHODS: Twenty-six veterans participated in 1 of 9 focus groups that were conducted following a group diabetes self-management education class and prior to a mindfulness intervention as part of a feasibility pilot study. Discussions were guided by open-ended questions that addressed the overarching research question, "How do attitudes and experiences with diabetes inform psychosocial-educational approaches to diabetes self-management education and care for veterans?" Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed. The data was then independently coded and thematically analyzed by 2 coders. RESULTS: Five main themes that reflect veterans' perceptions of their experiences with diabetes and diabetes self-management were identified: (1) distress and negative emotions, (2) social isolation, (3) perceived lack of control, (4) attitudes toward diabetes support, and (5) desire for information about stress, diabetes, health, and behavior. CONCLUSIONS: Veterans experience emotional distress and have unmet psychosocial needs related to diabetes self-management. Insight gained from these veteran perspectives suggests a framework for integrating psycho-educational interventions like mindfulness into diabetes care that emphasize stress reduction, person-centered communication, and opportunities for peer support.

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