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Living with painful diabetic neuropathy: insights from focus groups into fears and coping strategies

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is known to negatively affect quality of life. Being physically active is a crucial part of successful diabetes self-management, but regimen adherence is often low. Coping strategies and fears have shown to be related to less physical activity (PA). The aim of the present study was to obtain more in-depth information on psychological risk factors leading to less PA in persons with PDN.

DESIGN: Three semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with a representative sample of persons with PDN (N = 12). Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a hybrid method of thematic analyses and a grounded theory approach.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Fears and coping strategies related to PA in persons with PDN.

RESULTS: Several specific fears were identified; fear of hypoglycaemia, fear of pain increase, fear of total exhaustion, fear of physical injury, fear of falling, fear of loss of identity, and fear of negative evaluation by others. To cope with these fears, avoidance, remaining active, cognitive distraction, and acceptance strategies were described.

CONCLUSION: In persons with PDN, diabetes-related fears and pain-related fears play a role in less engagement in PA, indicating the need for new methods for improving self-management in persons with PDN.

    Research areas

  • CATASTROPHIZING SCALE, DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONNAIRE, DISABILITY INDEX, Diabetes, EXPOSURE IN-VIVO, LOW-BACK-PAIN, MOVEMENT (RE)INJURY, PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY, PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES, QUALITY-OF-LIFE, coping, diabetes self-care, fear, neuropathic pain, self-management
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-105
Number of pages22
JournalPsychology & Health
Volume34
Issue number1
Early online date15 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019