Religion, faith and the empowerment process: Stories of Iranian people with diabetes
Empowerment concerning people with diabetes is well researched. However, few researchers specifically focus on the barriers to and facilitators of empowerment in Iranian people with diabetes. Understanding the factors could help health professionals facilitate self-empowerment more effectively. This study aims to determine the barriers to and facilitators of empowerment in Iranian people with diabetes. A qualitative exploratory study was conducted using in-depth interviews to collect the data from 11 women and men in 2007. Themes were identified using constant comparative analysis method. Common barriers to empowerment were similar to other chronic diseases: prolonged stress, negative view about diabetes, ineffective health-care systems, poverty and illiteracy. Diabetes education, fear of diabetes' complications, self-efficacy and hope for a better future emerged as being crucial to empowerment. Facilitators specific to Iranians were: the power of religion and faith, the concept of the doctor as holy man, accepting diabetes as God's will, caring for the body because it was God's gift and support from families especially daughters. Empowerment was strongly influenced by cultural and religious beliefs in Iran and the power of faith emerged as an important facilitator of diabetes empowerment. The findings will help health professionals understand how Iranian people with diabetes view life and the factors that facilitate empowerment.