Women possess characteristics and experiences unique and different from men. Biological processes such as puberty, menstruation, motherhood and menopause may present challenges to self-management for individuals living with type 1 (T1) diabetes mellitus. In this study, descriptive phenomenology was used to uncover the self-management experiences of nine women aged 22- 30 years living with T1 diabetes. Data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously and followed the methodical structure of van Manen (1997). Study findings revealed five themes: 1) elusiveness of control; 2) dualism of technology; 3) forecasting and maintaining routines; 4) dealing with the “ups and downs”; and, 5) interfacing with the health care team. The essence of the experience for participants revolved around trying to achieve a state of “being in balance.” For these young women, self-management encompassed a desire and need to be in balance with their life and blood sugar levels.


Diabetes, Descriptive Methods, Illness and Disease, Chronic Illness and Disease, Experiences, Lived Experience, Nursing, Phenomenology, Self-Care, Women’s Health Young Adults.

Author Bio(s)

Sanja Visekruna, RN, MSc, is a doctoral student at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. She received Bachelor of Nursing Science and Master of Science (Nursing) degrees from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Her nursing career has encompassed direct care roles in critical care, and pediatrics (type 1 diabetes self-management focus), as well as an indirect care role in nursing education policy. Sanja’s research interests fall under the nursing health services research field, with a particular interest in the area of type 1 diabetes care. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Sanja Visekruna at, sanja.visekruna@mail.utoronto.ca. Dana S. Edge, RN, PhD, is currently an Associate Professor in the Queen’s University School of Nursing in Kingston, Ontario. Dr. Edge received her BSN from the University of Iowa, her MSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Toronto. Her research interests focus on the health of rural and remote populations, primary care, rural nursing and community resiliency. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Dana S. Edge at, dana.edge@queensu.ca. Lisa Keeping-Burke, RN, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing & Health Sciences at the University of New Brunswick and an Adjunct Assistant Professor with Queen’s University. She has Bachelor and Master of Nursing degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing from McGill University. Her program of research includes the management of adult chronic diseases across institutional and community settings. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Lisa Keeping-Burke at, lisa.keeping-burke@unb.ca.

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