Illness beliefs and the sociocultural context of diabetes self-management in British South Asians: a mixed methods study

WessexGeneric Health Relevance, Metabolic and Endocrine
Published Date: 29 Oct 2014

Abstract

Background

British South Asians have a higher incidence of diabetes and poorer health outcomes compared to the general UK population. Beliefs about diabetes are known to play an important role in self-management, yet little is known about the sociocultural context in shaping beliefs. This study aimed to explore the influence of sociocultural context on illness beliefs and diabetes self-management in British South Asians.

Methods

A mixed methods approach was used. 67 participants recruited using random and purposive sampling, completed a questionnaire measuring illness beliefs, fatalism, health outcomes and demographics; 37 participants completed a social network survey interview and semi-structured interviews. Results were analysed using SPSS and thematic analysis.

Results

Quantitative data found certain social network characteristics (emotional and illness work) were related to perceived concern, emotional distress and health outcomes (p < 0.05). After multivariate analysis, emotional work remained a significant predictor of perceived concern and emotional distress related to diabetes (p < 0.05). Analysis of the qualitative data suggest that fatalistic attitudes and beliefs influences self-management practices and alternative food ‘therapies’ are used which are often recommended by social networks.

Conclusions

Diabetes-related illness beliefs and self-management appear to be shaped by the sociocultural context. Better understanding of the contextual determinants of behaviour could facilitate the development of culturally appropriate interventions to modify beliefs and support self-management in this population.

Contact 
Dr Neesha Patel
Neesha.patel-2@manchester.ac.uk