This qualitative study of women with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) examined constructions of their diabetes management and socio-familial relationships as potential sources of support. Semi-structured interview data was collected from 16 women. The transcripts were analysed with the aim of examining the ways in which Sender relations structured women's accounts of health-related behaviours. Women talked about themselves as wives, mothers, being pregnant and parenting, and friends of other women in ways that demonstrated how caring for others impeded their capacity to care for themselves. Meeting the food preferences of husbands and dietary requirements of diabetic husbands were dominant themes in women's accounts of marriage, and in various ways women justified their husbands' lack of support. Furthermore, the care of others during pregnancy and parenting was also an obstacle to women caring for themselves. An awareness of the gender politics inherent within social and family contexts is crucial to improving the effectiveness of medical advice for diabetes management
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