African American Race and Culture and Patients' Perceptions of Diabetes Health Education

Linda Marie. Keenan, Walden University


African Americans diagnosed with diabetes are less likely to self-manage diabetes-specific modifiable risk factors. As a result, utilization of healthcare services occurs at a greater rate than other racial groups, and thereby incurs higher than expected healthcare costs. This ethnographic study explored the elements of diabetes educational material African Americans in a large city in the southern part of the United States found most useful to facilitate self-management of their disease. Bandura's self-efficacy theory provided the theoretical framework. Research questions addressed the preferred educational content, layout of material, and methods for educational delivery and caregiver support. A purposive sample of 30 African Americans with diabetes who had engaged in diabetes education classes participated in this study. Data were collected through in-depth personal interviews, which were inductively coded and then categorized around emergent themes. A key finding of this study is that participants preferred group learning formats, but perceived educational material to be confusing and difficult to understand. They also expressed some preferences for the use of color, pictures, and presentation of graphical information that may provide the basis for a revision of educational materials. Interestingly, participants indicated a tendency to seek out church members rather than family for support. The positive social change implications of this study include recommendations to healthcare professionals to adopt educational curricula that reflect cultural nuances and needs of target populations in order to support better health outcomes for at-risk populations and cost efficiency improvements.