The objective of this study was to analyze social representations of diabetes mellitus by chronic patients in a neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico. The methodology was qualitative and ethnographic. Thirty patients were interviewed at four moments over the course of two years, and the interviews were transcribed and analyzed with a dialectic hermeneutic focus using the Ethnograph software. The main results include a holistic representation of the disease, with multi-causality and key differences according to gender, allowing the expression of body sensations, pain, images, and individual meanings, the perception of a contaminated, unnatural physical environment, and a social context with economic limitations and affective, family, and marital problems. Diabetes is a means of expression, a vehicle, and a catalyst in an adverse environment which allows organizing what are perceived as negative internal and external events.
Diabetes Mellitus; Chronic Disease; Qualitative Research