Health-Illness Transition Experiences With Type 2 Diabetes Self-management of Sub-Saharan African Immigrants in the United States

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to describe Sub-Saharan African immigrants’ health-illness transition experiences associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) self-management.

Methods

A qualitative description methodology was used in this study. Face-to-face semi-structured in-depth interviews lasting 60 to 90 minutes were conducted with 10 Sub-Saharan African immigrant men and women with T2DM recruited using purposive and snowball sampling. Each interview was audio-taped, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results

Participants’ mean age was 60.3 years (range, 44-76 years), 5 men and 5 women; most had lived in the US for more than 10 years (70%) and with T2DM for more than 5 years (60%). Four overarching domains described the health-illness transition experiences the participants had with T2DM self-management: (1) knowledge of T2DM self-management behaviors, (2) current T2DM self-management behaviors, (3) inhibitors of T2DM self-management, and (4) facilitators of T2DM self-management.

Conclusions

Health professionals should be equipped with an understanding of the properties and conditions of health-illness transition. This understanding is necessary to build a foundation that facilitates healthy adaptation to the T2DM transition requiring the development and mastery of new skills consistent with gaining control of T2DM. Culturally tailored interventions need to be developed to decrease inhibitors of and encourage self-management in daily T2DM care for Sub-Saharan African immigrants with T2DM.

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