Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

School

Human Services

Advisor

George Ayers

Abstract

Racial/ethnic minority groups experience a higher mortality rate, a lower life expectancy, and worse mental health outcomes than non-Hispanic in the United States. There is a scarcity of qualitative studies on racial/ethnic health disparities. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore the personal experiences, attitudes, and perspectives of 6 African American adults with chronic health issues related to diabetes through a face-to-face interview. Social cognitive theory and health belief model guided the study. The participants were recruited through purposeful sampling. The data were coded using axial and thematic coding and subsequently analyzed through phenomenological interpretive inquiry. The participants' perceived experiences were summarized in 7 themes (Beliefs and perceptions, denial, attitudes, treatment cost, neighborhood effect, juggling work and family related stress, and need for positive motivation and support). The participants' experiences with their health outcomes were influenced by internal and some external factors that were beyond their control. Social change implications include public policy makers integrating health policies that are designed for socioeconomic inequality in the neighborhood and improving health insurance company policies on treatment copays. Public health and other human services professionals can develop health intervention to assist minorities with chronic health issues to manage their disease and overcome barriers related to the disease.