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.