235177 Reclaiming Healthy Traditions: Findings from an African-American Case Study on Spirituality and Type 2 Diabetes in Rural Arkansas

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:50 AM

Gauri Bhattacharya, DSW, ACSW, LCSW (NYS) , Department of Social Work, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, State University, AR
BACKGROUND: Though underreported, type 2 diabetes (T2D) is ranked the number four health priority in Arkansas (AR). Spirituality is a central aspect of life in the state's African American (AA) community. This case study presents community-based qualitative research conducted among AAs in rural AR. The goal was to: 1. Explore the role of spirituality in the participants' daily lives and 2. Identify possible linkages between T2D self-management and healthy mind, body and soul initiatives within the participants' community. METHODS: Qualitative data was collected from open-ended interviews with individuals who had a T2D diagnosis. These interviews focused on the roles of culture, self-care practices, social network and social support, spirituality, racism and discrimination, family health history, and health insurance status in T2D self-management. This study applied a grounded theory approach to its systematic, qualitative analysis of interview transcripts and development of themes and patterns. FINDINGS: Community-based spiritual messages and rituals could encourage the participants' T2D health care seeking behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: This case study presents research findings and discusses: 1) perceptions of diabetes and its prevention and care within this rural AR community; 2) the influences of spiritual factors in their socio-historical contexts upon community norms and health care seeking behaviors; and 3) the promotion of better T2D prevention, management and treatment through better understanding of this community's cultural strengths in its own collectivist contexts.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
This session will enable participants to: 1. Analyze effective strategies for increasing type 2 diabetes self-management behaviors of African American adults. 2. Formulate comprehensive, community-specific, culturally competent programs that integrate biomedical, spiritual, and cultural perspectives into type 2 diabetes prevention and management. 3. Design health initiatives that utilize the target community’s cultural strengths.

Keywords: African American, Diabetes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I was this study’s Principal Investigator. Community based minority health research is my area of expertise.
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.