How public percept diabetes: A qualitative study

Samereh Abdoli, Leila Mardanian, Marjan Mirzaei


  • Background: Diabetes has a high prevalence in Iran and it is estimated to rise from 3.5 million adults in 2005 to 5.1 million by 2025. Given the high prevalence of diabetes in Iranians, it is surprising how little is known about understanding of diabetes in public population. This study aimed to explore and describe people without diabetes explanation for the disease.
  • Materials and Methods: This is a qualitative study, content analysis one, using unstructured, in-depth interviews, with the participation of 21 individuals without diabetes (13 = women and 8 = men), 18–61 years old, who were selected for this purpose in the cities of Isfahan and Tehran for the period of October 2010 to May 2011. The data was analyzed using latent content analysis method.
  • Findings: The participants had different beliefs and ideas about diabetes and most of them suggested a negative and black image of diabetes. Although a small number of individuals considered diabetes better than AIDS and cancer, they often took diabetes as a black mass, end of romances, and a gradual death.
  • Conclusion: However, it was a small study; the findings showed that the participants’ perspective on diabetes is negative and destructive. It seems shaping a new identity in the path of empowerment could be difficult within the social and cultural context. These findings can give an insight to health care providers to realize how important it is to find out about the public perception about diabetes. They are responsible to change or modify the public view on diabetes through introducing the disease via prominent people and educating individuals in the society on all aspects of living with diabetes, not simply the symptoms and disabilities it brings along.
  • Key words: Diabetes, people without diabetes, qualitative study

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