The “Ups and Downs” of Living With Type 2 Diabetes Among Working Adults in the Rural South

Lynn E. Glenn, Christine B. Thurlow, Maithe Enriquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of the spheres of influence on engagement in recommended diabetes preventive health services among rural, working adults. Additionally, this study sought to understand the unique factors that influence diabetes self-management among rural, working adult populations. The sample included mostly African-American, low-income females with self-reported diabetes, who scored low on the Patient Activation Measure (PAM-10). Semi-structured interviews (N = 20) revealed that most participants struggled with the “ups and downs” of living with diabetes. Four major themes emerged from the data: “the struggle,” “doing things together,” “diabetes is not the priority,” and “we’re lucky to have what we have.” Most participants were developing individual responsibility and motivation for a healthy future, but were overwhelmed by inconsistency in self-management, diabetes distress, lack of effective coping strategies, and lack of social and economic capital. The findings of this study indicate the need to further address psychological well-being among rural, working adults, yet rural populations often lack sufficient access to mental health care and formalized psychological support. Psychological support and resources are essential to facilitate engagement in diabetes self-management and preventive health services for rural, working adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • coping
  • diabetes
  • patient activation
  • preventive health services
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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