Asian Nurs Res.  2022 Aug;16(3):155-161. 10.1016/j.anr.2022.05.005.

“Life is Bitter and Sweet”: The Lived Experience of Ethnic Minority Elders with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Rural, Thailand

  • 1School of Nursing, Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand
  • 2Center of Excellence for the Hill Tribe Health Research (CEHR), Mae Fah Laung University, Thailand
  • 3Conway School of Nursing, The Catholic University of America, USA


The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experience of ethnic minority elders (EME) with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) to understand an individual's experience, perception, and behaviors connected to T2DM in rural areas where support is limited. Method: The hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was used to explore the lived experience of EME with T2DM by using conversational interviews. Twenty EME were interviewed. The data analysis and interpretation followed the thematic analysis by van Manen.
Analysis highlighted an overarching theme of “Life is Bitter and Sweet” and three main themes: (1) the struggle of living with diabetes, (2) living with inequalities, and (3) dealing with diabetes that reflects the experiences of EME with T2DM living in underserved areas based on the cultures, beliefs, and spirits.
The finding led to recommendations to strengthen interventions by family members, improve supportive systems and services to improve knowledge, self-management, and maintain physical well-being in order to increase the quality of life for the EME with T2DM.


Aging; Diabetes mellitus; Type 2; Population health management; Qualitative research
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