Understanding the diabetic body-self

Jennifer Karas Montez, Tracy X. Karner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death from disease, shortens the average life span by up to 15 years, and is the main cause of new blindness, kidney failure, and amputations in the United States. Interviews with 2 practitioners and 8 individuals with diabetes illustrate how individuals embody their illness. Interviewed persons with diabetes tended to be most closely associated with the disciplined body type and pursued high levels of bodily control, in contrast to an idealized type, the communicative body, which can be considered an ethical ideal. This framework provides heuristic value by providing insight into the behaviors, needs, and struggles of persons with diabetes, as well as providing a means to more effective treatment and better practitioner-patient relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1086-1104
Number of pages19
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Embodiment
  • Illness experience
  • Wounded storytellers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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