Date of Conferral





Public Health


Naa-Solo Tettey


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a disease that affects the body's ability to metabolize glucose effectively. The disease is predicted to be prevalent in over 300 million people by the year 2030. African Americans (AA) have the highest prevalence rates in the United States. Lifestyle modification and awareness of risk factors, including family history, are important aspects for prevention of developing T2DM. The purpose of this study was to understand if a family history of T2DM played an influential role in individuals making positive health behavior changes for T2DM prevention. The phenomenological study was grounded in the health belief model. Participants selected for this study were at least 18 years of age, self-identified as AA, self-reported a family history of T2DM, and were not diagnosed with the disease themselves. Transcriptions of 20 face-to-face interviews were stored and organized via a qualitative research software NVivo Version 12 for Mac and later analyzed for data outcome. Participants demonstrated a strong awareness of T2DM with an accurate definition of T2DM and explanation of signs, symptoms, and prevention. Participants recognized family history as a risk factor in only 55% of the responses. However, family history played a major role in prevention in the lives of the participants. The participants reflected on personal barriers to health behavior changes and were encouraged to incorporate better life choices in their own lives. This research offers communities, healthcare providers, and stakeholders a better understanding of the importance of family history as a risk factor to T2DM as programs are developed to mitigate health disparities in the AA community.