Perceptions of barriers in managing diabetes: perspectives of Hispanic immigrant patients and family members

Diabetes Educ. 2013 Jul-Aug;39(4):494-503. doi: 10.1177/0145721713486200. Epub 2013 May 2.


Purpose: Hispanics show poorer self-management of type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Although previous studies have reported socioeconomic and cultural barriers to diabetes self-management by Hispanics, little is known about perceived barriers to diabetes self-management from the perspectives of both Hispanics and their family members. The purpose of the study was to explore perceived barriers among Hispanic immigrants with diabetes and their family members.

Methods: A qualitative study using 5 focus groups was conducted. A total of 73 Hispanic immigrants with type 2 diabetes (n = 36) and family members (n = 37) were recruited in the southeastern United States for a family-based intervention study of diabetes-self management. Participants were asked to describe their perceptions of barriers to self-management. The 5 sessions were audiotaped and transcribed, translated from Spanish into English, and analyzed using standard content analysis. Demographics, hemoglobin A1C levels, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI) were obtained both for participants with diabetes and for their family members.

Results: Barriers to diabetes self-management identified by participants with diabetes were in 3 major themes categorized as: suffering from diabetes, difficulties in managing the disease, and lack of resources/support. Two key themes emerged pertaining to family members: we can provide support and we lack knowledge.

Conclusions: Perceived barriers to diabetes self-management described by Hispanic immigrants with diabetes and family members indicate a lack of intervention strategies to meet their needs. Interventions should include culturally relevant resources, family support, and diabetes self-management skills education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Culture
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Directive Counseling
  • Educational Status
  • Emigrants and Immigrants* / psychology
  • Family
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / ethnology
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Self Care* / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States