A qualitative study focusing on coping mechanisms for black diabetic women between the ages of 40-50 years.
This is a study on black diabetic women in Durban, UMlazi N Section in South Africa. The study seeks to explore the cultural meanings that are attached to diabetes as well as examine the coping mechanisms that the women in the study used to manage diabetes. The study further investigates the existence of social networks within the community where diabetic women live and how these networks enable women to cope with their condition. This study also discusses how women receive information at the clinic on how to manage their diabetes. The study adopts a qualitative research design. The research techniques that are used in the study are in-depth interviews and semi-structured interviews. Participant observation techniques were also adopted in this study. Interactions with the women took place at the clinic, their homes, and during the group meetings that they hold every month with Diabetes South Africa at the clinic. Participant observation managed to shed light of the diabetic women's lived experiences. Two theoretical perspectives were adopted in this study. These namely the social network theory and social capital theory. The women's background, family life experiences and networks all contributed to a rich understanding of issues and diabetic women's experiences. This study demonstrated the important role culture plays in the lives of the participants. Cultural background influenced a lot of decisions that the diabetic women made with regards to their health seeking behaviour. Cultural forces included religious and traditional beliefs‟ influences. The education that the women got at the clinic was good and it enabled them to manage their diabetes and to understand that diabetes is not umeqo or idliso.