Carers’ Perceptions of Type 2 Diabetes and Caregiving in Northern Thailand


  • Nitima Suparee Boromarajonani College of Nursing, Sawanpracharak Nakhonsawan, , Nakhonsawan, 60000, Thailand
  • Paula McGee Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England
  • Salim Khan Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England


Type 2 diabetes, Carers, Caregiving, Thailand


Background: The number of people in Thailand who have Type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically making it one of the country’s major health problems. Carers play an important role in looking after relatives with Type 2 diabetes but little is known about their perceptions of this condition. The present study aimed to examine the perceptions of carers in Thailand regarding Type 2 diabetes and utilise the findings to formulate a model for diabetes health education.

Methods: A grounded theory approach was used to recruit 22 carers from the outpatients department of 659 bedded public hospitals in Northern Thailand. Semi-structured face to face interviews explored their views of Type 2 diabetes and caring activities.

Results: Five explanatory categories emerged from the data. The core category was causing lifelong stress and worry and the others were wanting a normal life for the people in their care, finding their own ways of dealing with Type 2 diabetes, after a while changes occurred, and still cannot make things right. Carers were happy to care for their relatives because they loved them. Carers had some understanding of Type 2 diabetes although the accuracy of this varied as some did not regard it as a serious health problem. They tried hard to help their relatives follow heath professionals’ instructions about diet, medication and exercise. Thai culture and Buddhist values influenced their thoughts. Carers who attended the patient education group at the hospital found group learning and learning from peers very helpful. Some carers bought traditional Thai medicines for their relatives especially if their blood glucose levels remained high. As their relatives’ health deteriorated, carers’ responsibilities increased and they experienced the social and emotional costs of caring: tension, worry, stress and loss of their personal lives.

Conclusion: Carers of people with Type 2 diabetes were constantly worried about the people in their care and spent a lot of time looking after them but were often socially isolated. Carers in Thailand needed respite from caring and better education about Type 2 diabetes.


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How to Cite

Suparee, N., McGee, P., & Khan, S. (2017). Carers’ Perceptions of Type 2 Diabetes and Caregiving in Northern Thailand. Journal of Health Research, 31(5), 355–361. Retrieved from