212562 Diabetes, Disease Management, and Disability: Perspectives from a Diverse Population of Diabetics

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tammy Tom, MA, MS , Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Christy M. Nishita, PhD , Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Background: Although culture may play a role in how diabetics participate in their disease management, it is likely that the support needs and disease perceptions are similar across ethnic backgrounds which would provide a foundation for cross-cultural programs and policy.

Methods: From October 2008 through June 2009, data was collected from 190 mostly Type 2 diabetics enrolled in a federally funded RCT. Quantitative collection focused on (1) level of support needed for compliance with CDC recommendations and (2) perceptions of how diabetes may affect future functioning and employment. Qualitative data came from focus groups where barriers to proper diabetes management and needed supports were discussed.

Results: Survey respondents (n=150) were ethnically diverse ( 38% Native Hawaiian; 32% Asian; 14% White; 16% Other backgrounds). Focus group participants (n=74) were similarly diverse.

Although needs or perceptions differed by age, functional status, or gender, they did not differ by ethnic background, indicating that the support needs and perceptions of diabetes are similar across ethnic groups. Dominant needs included blood glucose and weight (73%), exercise (67%), cholesterol (57%), and stress (55%). Focus group findings and perceptions on functioning and employment will also be shared.

Discussion: Although program delivery modes may need to vary, understanding that the needs of diabetics from different ethnic backgrounds are similar is important for policy makers and program planners to understand. Although responses may not be generalizeable, they represent the perceptions of a diverse population of diabetics and, therefore, could be used for cross-cultural policy and program development.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the similar perspectives diabetics from different ethnic backgrounds have on barriers to proper diabetes management, needed supports, and future functioning and employment.

Keywords: Diabetes, Culture

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been on this research project since the planning phase, and am directly involved in its quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses. Prior to joining this project, I was a statistician at the Hawaii Department of Health working in health surveys, epidemiology, and aging.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.