"A Curse of a Disease!" Remembering the history and lived experience of type one diabetes through patient memory

  • Lauren Young

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Diabetes, both type one and type two is one of the most common chronic conditions throughout the world and the number of patients being diagnosed is continually rising. This thesis provides an account of the history and lived experience of type one diabetes specifically, using Northern Ireland as a case study for oral history interviews. It will provide new insights into the social history of medicine, as well as the use of oral history as a methodology in this field. Throughout this research, the benefits of using oral history to explore the lived experience of a chronic, incurable illness is shown, particularly when using interview material to explore themes that we are not exposed to through the likes of medical texts and journals. This thesis provides important new work on the medical history of diabetes, told from the perspective of the patient, the individual who lives with this condition, day in and day out.

Thesis embargoed until 31st July 2028
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorSean O'Connell (Supervisor), Olwen Purdue (Supervisor) & Michael Trimble (Supervisor)


  • Diabetes
  • insulin
  • oral history
  • patient experience
  • social history of medicine
  • chronic illness

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