Gender, ethnocultural, and psychosocial barriers to diabetes self-management in Italian women and men with type 2 diabetes

Behav Med. 2006 Winter;31(4):153-60. doi: 10.3200/BMED.31.4.153-160.


Although several ethnic groups experience a greater burden of diabetes, this has not been examined in first-generation Italians, who compose one of the largest ethnocultural groups in Canada. In this cross-sectional study, the authors examined the relationship among gender and ethnocultural factors, family support, depressive symptomatology, and illness perceptions on diabetes self-management (DSM) in 50 Italian women and men with type 2 diabetes. The authors first conducted a focus group to explore cultural barriers. They then assessed gender, ethnocultural, and psychosocial barriers quantitatively by an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Compared with Italian men, Italian women reported significantly greater depressive symptomatology and perceived disease seriousness. Greater depressive symptomatology was significantly associated with perceived family sabotage and DSM barriers. In univariate analyses, shorter duration of diabetes and greater perceived treatment effectiveness significantly predicted better DSM. In conclusion, certain illness perceptions and culturally relevant gender-specific barriers should be addressed by health care providers to maximize DSM in this population. Index Terms: diabetes, diet, gender, self-management

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Culture*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Psychology
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sex Factors