Date of Award

Fall 11-25-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Robin Roth

Second Advisor

Amy Rutstein Riley

Third Advisor

Lynn Abrahams


The prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. reached 23 million people between 2012 and 2017 and consumed one-quarter of the overall healthcare dollars. Remembering the suffering and pain of individuals behind these numbers becomes difficult and incalculable. Black American women are the most affected by type 2 diabetes (T2D), compared to their white counterparts, as well as twice as likely to be diagnosed with T2D and 2.5 times more likely to die from T2D. Therefore, understanding the problem requires the fundamental consideration of how these women cope daily with this complex illness while often struggling with complex lives. This narrative study provides a framework for 14 women of color to reveal their illness narratives using participant-generated photography, photo-elicitation interviews, and relational map making (relational interviewing tool), which resulted in six findings. These methodologies combine to allow an unframed participant expression of their own experiences. According to Finding One, T2D experience can exacerbate stress in the lives of participants, while others find mastery over the management. In Finding Two, T2D experience influences generalized feelings of control in life or the lack thereof. Finding Three indicates that T2D concern fluctuates in the hierarchy of importance in the lives of participants. Finding Four shows all participants use a variety of stress relievers, (including pets, social activities, exercises) some of which conflict with T2D management which they consider as necessary in their lives. In Finding Five, significant childhood trauma plays a role in coping with T2D experience. Finding Six shows religious beliefs and rituals were invoked by all participants but played varied roles. These findings show the complexity of the lived experience of these women within their social contexts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



Number of Pages





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