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How do people with Type 2 Diabetes experience their relationship with food following a course in mindfulness?

Brogan, J. (2019). How do people with Type 2 Diabetes experience their relationship with food following a course in mindfulness?. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Food and the relationship that people with diabetes have with it has not specifically been investigated. The research to date, mainly quantitative, has focused on the role of emotions and cognitions on the eating behaviours of people who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder or who are clinically obese. With an increasing number of people in the UK being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and the physical and emotional problems that this can come with has prompted mental health services to be involved in helping this group of people to improve their physical and mental well-being as a means to improving their ability to selfmanage. With little information on how the people with Type 2 diabetes experience their relationship to food it is difficult to understand fully the influences on this relationship. This research attempted to understand the relationship that people with Type 2 diabetes have with food using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. This study was conducted specifically after an intervention had been provided to help them self-manage, that is, a course in mindfulness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 participants aged between 46 and 73 years. All had attended a course in mindfulness which was run at the diabetes clinic that they had attended for treatment. The range of years since the attendance on the mindfulness course was 1 – 8 years and the range of years since a diagnosis of diabetes was 5 – 23 years. 2 of the participants were male. 3 were white British, 3 were Caribbean and 2 were British Asian. All of them spoke fluent English and all of them were on some form of medication to help control their diabetes. Three main themes emerged from the data: Agony and Ecstasy, Vulnerable and Undisciplined Child, and What has mindfulness ever done for me? The analysis explores the data describing these themes through the participants’ own words. An attempt to locate the findings in the broader research literature and theories to help understand how these experiences could be explained is discussed leading to a consideration of the literature around cravings, attachment theory and mindfulness interventions. These findings provide an insight for Counselling Psychologists who are working with people with diabetes who are struggling to manage their relationship with food.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Text - Accepted Version
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