Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jean Croce Hemphill PhD, FNP-BC

Committee Members

Florence Weierbach, Kendrea Todt, Megan Haselschwerdt



The prevalence of prediabetes in adults aged 18 or older was as high as 38% between 2017-2020. Youth-onset T2DM is a more aggressive phenotype than T2DM that occurs later in life. Young adults with T2DM have poorer health outcomes, lose an average of 15 years of life, all resulting in significant economic burden impacting the person. Current self-management interventions do not improve health outcomes in young adults with T2DM.


The purpose of this research was to explore the self-care experiences of young adults living with T2DM.


Existential hermeneutic phenomenology informed the research. Inclusion criteria as follows: adults aged 18 to 30 with a self-reported diagnosis of T2DM, physical presence in the United States, English proficiency. Purposive and snowball sampling were used. Nineteen participants were interviewed: 16 self-identified as Black, 2 as White, and 1 as Latino. Interviews were transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analyzed using an iterative approach for meaning units and themes. Thematic meanings were identified from the data.


The grand theme my journey and two themes: finding out and navigating, three subthemes include distress, around me, and my duties. The second subtheme, around me, included two micro themes: support and juggling. The third subtheme, my duties, included three micro themes: exercise, education, and trigger surveillance. Several factors were unique to young adults' perception of self-care. Perceptions of time, support networks, novel coping strategies, and search for disease literacy impacted self-care perceptions and understanding. Results suggest the need for future person-centered, self-care intervention research with young adults that could result in improved health outcomes.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.