Experience of social role strain in Korean women with type 2 diabetes


Corresponding to H. Park:

e-mail: ysyphj@gmail.com



To expand our understanding of the experience of social role strain in the context of diabetes care among middle-aged married Korean women with type 2 diabetes.


Diabetes remains an international concern. There are special challenges experienced by middle-aged married women who may not prioritize self-care and disease management. These challenges may be heightened in certain cultures due to traditional female and family roles along with other social norms and values.


Descriptive qualitative study.


This qualitative descriptive study involves in-depth interviews conducted between January–February 2007 with ten middle-aged married Korean women purposively selected to represent both higher and lower levels of role strain as measured by the measure of role gratification and strain instrument from the companion study, which was conducted simultaneously.


Korean women in this study reported ‘resentment regarding previous role strain’. This psychosocial burden was heightened by a noted pattern of ‘sacrificing self in favour of others’, which complicated both their personal lives and their ability to take care of themselves physically. Added to this were feelings of guilt related to their diabetes and the requirements of day-to-day management expressed as, ‘my diabetes makes me a liability’.


The women's role-strain experience related to their diabetes was intertwined with their past and current daily life. Further explication and interventions to address and manage role strain could potentially improve women's disease management and overall quality of life.