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The experiences of people with diabetes mellitus and hypoglycaemia unawareness

Gleeson, Jessica Rachael


Jessica Rachael Gleeson


Tim (Clinical psychologist) Alexander


This portfolio thesis contains three separate parts: a systematic literature review, an empirical study and a set of associated appendices.

Part one is a systematic literature review which synthesises published literature which explores the experiences of those who care for an adult who has hypoglycaemia. A systematic database search identified nine articles which were included in the review. The synthesis resulted in four overarching themes: emotional impact on the caregiver, effect on the partnership, restricting activities and seeking knowledge and support. Overall results are discussed in terms of their quality and their implications for future research and clinical practice.

Part two is an empirical paper exploring patient experiences of having both diabetes mellitus and hypoglycaemia unawareness. A qualitative methodology was used to explore lived experiences. Six participants shared their subjective experiences which were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Three overarching themes were identified: ‘I call my diabetes the beast because it just doesn’t do as it’s told,’ ‘It’s like waking up every day with a giant above your bed saying right; you’ve got to look after me today’ and ‘I’ve got this condition and it’s ruining my life. I just want to be normal.’ The findings are considered within the context of existing literature and clinical implications are discussed.

Part three includes appendices from both the systematic literature review and the empirical paper. An epistemological statement and a reflective statement outlining the research process are also included.


Gleeson, J. R. (2017). The experiences of people with diabetes mellitus and hypoglycaemia unawareness. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 22, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Clinical psychology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Psychological Health and Wellbeing, The University of Hull
Award Date May 1, 2017


Thesis (1.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 Gleeson, Jessica Rachael. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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