• chronic illness;
  • diabetes;
  • participatory action research;
  • wellness;
  • women

• This study is part of a larger research project which aimed to create an understanding of how people with type II diabetes incorporated chronic illness into their lives. We aimed to find wellness in the context of a chronic illness.

• The participatory action-orientated research (PAR) approach is consumer based and managed, and six women with diabetes and the research team met for eight two-hour sessions in August and September 1998.

• The objectives were to contribute to understanding of the health of adults who live with chronic illness by providing greater insight and understanding into the worlds of people who live with a chronic illness and allowing the voices of people with diabetes to be clearly heard in relation to their health.

• There was a wellness theme around taking time out, but considering the other dominant negative experiences, this study can only be considered as an attempt to find wellness in the context of chronic illness.

• The PAR process, built upon sharing, listening and reconstructing stories, worked toward the women being heard and having a voice for the first time.

• Listening and acting upon the voices of the women has implications for the practice of health care professionals.