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Am J Nurs. 2019 Dec;119(12):22-31. doi: 10.1097/

CE: Original Research: Experiences of Diabetes Burnout: A Qualitative Study Among People with Type 1 Diabetes.

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Samereh Abdoli is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where Amit Vora is a clinical assistant professor in the Graduate School of Medicine. Danielle Hessler is an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. Betsy Smither is a project manager at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, TN. Heather Stuckey is an associate professor in the Departments of Medicine, Public Health Science, and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg. This study was supported in part by an unrestricted grant from the Beryl Institute. Contact author: Samereh Abdoli, The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.



People with type 1 diabetes are at increased risk for diabetes burnout, resulting in suboptimal diabetes care and quality of life. While the existence of diabetes burnout is widely acknowledged, there is no evidence-based definition, means of measurement, or interventions to address it.


This study was aimed at increasing our understanding of the lived experiences of diabetes burnout among adults with type 1 diabetes.


A qualitative descriptive study was conducted with a sample of 18 adults with type 1 diabetes who reported a current or previous experience of diabetes burnout. Data were collected using in-depth interviews and analyzed using qualitative content analysis.


Four main themes were identified: mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion from having diabetes; detachment from illness identity, diabetes self-care, and support systems; contributing factors to diabetes burnout; and strategies for preventing or overcoming diabetes burnout.


Although exhaustion is an entry point for diabetes burnout, the findings suggest that detachment from illness identity, diabetes self-care, and support systems form a core component. Detachment may explain poor outcomes in individuals experiencing diabetes burnout.

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