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Title: A participatory action research study with Guyanese women living with type 2 diabetes in England
Author: Mitchell, Helena A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 5279
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2014
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People from Black and Minority Ethnic groups, in particular Guyanese people, have a higher incidence of Type 2 Diabetes. Yet, there is a paucity of research which explores women's experiences of living with the condition. In this participatory action research (PAR) inquiry, eight participants and I, ‘we’ researched together for 18 months. Participants were nine Guyanese middle class women, including myself, who had migrated to England many years ago. The inquiry aim was to listen to the women’s voices about living with Type 2 Diabetes and explore associated cultural experiences that could influence self-management. The objectives were: 1) give voice to Guyanese women stories; 2) explore their experiences living with Type 2 Diabetes; 3) facilitate a participatory action research (PAR) group and explore with them self-care trajectories and 4) consider ways ‘we’ (women and researcher) can initiate health care reform at an individual level and/or within the Guyanese community. Data generated included storytelling in one to one interviews in the safe environment of the women’s own homes, followed by 14 PAR group sessions. Participants drove the research by determining what should go on the agenda and they decided on the resultant actions. Fourteen constructs (commonalities in experience) were derived from our data and the women validated these findings and took ownership of their stories. The main focus of the PAR group conversations was on their identities as Guyanese migrant women which were constructed through the food and dietary transitions made over the time of the PAR group. The group’s social context became a fertile bed for learning. In terms of living with a chronic illness, improving diabetes self-management was accelerated within the group. Group cohesion and working together to improve their lives are two of the most important findings. In 2015 the group continues to meet. If theory is defined by its practical effects, together we have confronted the taken for granted meanings of culture, ethnicity and identity as we researched alongside each other to construct a theory of togetherness as empowerment that enabled a group of migrant women to bring about change in their lives. My thesis is that listening to the voices of Guyanese / English women who live with a chronic illness improved self-management, fostered new understandings of diabetes and empowered this group to have a say about the health services received. Through participating in a PAR group, we recognised that we are bi-culturally competent women and when we connect, we recognise the practical effect of togetherness as empowerment.
Supervisor: Allan, Helen; Koch, Tina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available