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Cultural orientation and diabetes self-care in low-income African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Ethnicity & disease

Female, Adult, African Americans, psychology, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Blood Glucose, Cultural Characteristics, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, epidemiology, ethnology, therapy, Humans, Male, Massachusetts, Middle Aged, Nutrition Policy, Patient Education as Topic, Poverty, Questionnaires, Self Care, Urban Population

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      The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships between cultural variables and diabetes self-care behaviors and glycemic control among African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Cross-sectional survey. Questionnaires assessing traditional African-American cultural orientation, ethnic identity, self-identification, and diabetes self-care were administered to a sample of 94 low-income, African-American, inner-city hospital outpatients with type 2 diabetes. Participants were predominantly female (64%), with an average age of 53 years, and most had attained less than or equal to a high school education (66%). No significant relationships were found among ethnic identity, self-identification, glycemic control, and diabetes self-care behaviors. Traditional African-American cultural orientation was significantly associated with decreased dietary adherence scores (P<.03). Increased scores on cultural mistrust were related to decreased dietary adherence scores (P<.002). Traditional food practices showed a non-significant trend toward decreased dietary adherence in conjunction with number of dependents and income (P<.055). Traditional African-American cultural orientation was found to be associated with decreased dietary adherence scores in a sample of urban African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Assessment of the cultural orientation of African-American patients has the potential to assist providers in designing culturally tailored, diabetes-specific dietary interventions.

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