Diabetes self-management in African Americans: an exploration of the role of fatalism

Diabetes Educ. Jan-Feb 2003;29(1):105-15. doi: 10.1177/014572170302900115.


Purpose: This study was conducted to explore the concept of fatalism in relation to diabetes self-management behavior in African Americans with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Participants (n = 39) were recruited from a clinic sample of African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Seven focus groups were conducted; the sessions were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed to identify themes related to fatalism and diabetes self-management. The ISAS paradigm (individual, symbols, audience, situation), a social psychology theory, provided the theoretical framework for the study.

Results: Four dimensions of fatalism were identified: the meaning of diabetes, the illness experience, the individual's coping response, and the individual's religious and spiritual beliefs. For the participants in this study, fatalism seemed to characterize the nature of the interaction between the individual with diabetes and others, the meanings they attached to such interactions, and the decision to adopt an effective or ineffective diabetes self-management behavior.

Conclusions: Fatalism was associated with diabetes self-management in African Americans with diabetes and was multidimensional in this population; the construct appeared to differ conceptually from the perspective of current measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Self Care*
  • Southeastern United States