Objective: To examine ethnic and gender differences in psychosocial factors, e.g., social support and acceptance of the disease, knowledge levels, perceived difficulty in adherence behaviors, and diabetes outcome (glycemic control and quality of life) in Type 2 diabetic patients.
Methods: Data were collected via telephone interviews from 180 diabetic subjects (34% Hispanics, 27% Non-Hispanic whites, 18% African-Americans, and 20% Asian-Indians; 52% females) from 2 clinics. Hemoglobin A1c levels were obtained from patient charts.
Results: Significant ethnic and gender differences existed in acceptance of the disease, in receiving social support, disease knowledge, perceived difficulty in self-management behaviors, glycemic control, and quality of life among Type 2 diabetic patients; differences were more pronounced by gender than by ethnicity. In general, social support and acceptance of the disease were high. However, perceived difficulty in self-management behaviors varied by racial/ethnic groups with self-monitoring of blood glucose perceived as most difficult by Hispanic respondents, dietary management was most difficult for non-Hispanic whites, while physical activity was the most difficult for African-Americans. Hispanic respondents had greatest severity of the disease (poorest metabolic control).
Conclusions: Ethnic and gender variations exist in social support, acceptance of diabetes, quality of life, and adherence behaviors. The outcomes of diabetes care can be improved if practitioners factor these differences in tailoring diabetes education and supportive care for individuals with Type 2 diabetes.