Diabetes self-management in a Latino social environment

Diabetes Educ. Mar-Apr 2009;35(2):285-92. doi: 10.1177/0145721708329545. Epub 2009 Feb 9.


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore the sociocultural influences and social context associated with living with type 2 diabetes among migrant Latino adults.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive study using grounded theory techniques was conducted. In-depth semistructured interviews were completed with 10 participants (6 female and 4 male) ranging in age from 46 to 65 years and with a duration of diabetes diagnosis ranging from 1.5 to 40 years.

Results: An overarching meta-theme of self-management in a social environment emerged. Every aspect of the process of self-management, as described in the 4 major themes-(1) family cohesion, (2) social stigma of disease, (3) social expectations/perception of "illness," and (4) disease knowledge and understanding-was influenced by the social context.

Conclusions: The familist traditions, central to the Mexican culture, had both positive and negative consequences on diabetes management. Tailoring clinical care and developing novel education approaches, to include family and community, is central to improving the health of this population. Recognizing and acknowledging the social stigma associated with diabetes, for this population, will promote understanding and improve clinician-patient communication. The sociocultural influences that affect diabetes management practices (eg, include family, in particular the primary female caregiver, and establish community- and home-based education sessions) must be integrated into clinical practice. Future research focused on population-defined health and disease self-management, novel educational interventions, and family and community interventions focusing on the concept of social stigma of disease is indicated to further affect the health disparities of this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Culture
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Language
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Social Behavior*
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data
  • United States