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Understanding Self-Care Practices for African-American Women With Type Two Diabetes

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042138/00001

Material Information

Title: Understanding Self-Care Practices for African-American Women With Type Two Diabetes
Physical Description: 1 online resource (221 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Young, Gail
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: african, american, care, diabetes, education, health, management, minority, self, women
Health Education and Behavior -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Health and Human Performance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Diabetes is a significant public health problem and a leading cause of disability and death in the United States. The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self-care activities and explore experiences of African-American women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This mixed method study used a quantitative correlational design and a qualitative descriptive design. The data was collected using surveys and semi-structured individual interviews and analyzed using SPSS 17.0 and Atlas ti 5.2. Data were transcribed verbatim and examined for emergent themes. The sample included fifty-two African-American women between the ages of 40-64 from the North Central Florida region. The mean age for the sample was 55 years. Approximately 55.8% of the participants had higher than the average knowledge for diabetes. Results showed no associations between the respondent?s level of knowledge about diabetes and certain self-care activities. However there were positive significant correlations between knowledge about diabetes and the years of education (rho=.24) and some self-care activities namely (a) specific diet (r=.28) and (b) foot care (rho=.40). Participants? experiences with diabetes varied and most were aware of at least one factor that contributed to their diabetes. Thematically, their experience and perceptions organized around dealing with diagnosis of T2DM and management of T2DM with various factors influencing both. Influential factors for a) dealing with their diabetes included perceived long term consequences, past experiences, seminal events, level of awareness and support; b) managing their diabetes included difficulties (concerns with treatment, lifestyle changes, personal barriers and inadequate resources) and facilitators (improved awareness, supports, past experiences, religious beliefs, and adapting new strategies for care). Limitations to note when interpreting the results were that there was a convenience sample, attrition, and a small sample size. Though significant associations were identified, they should not be used to predict behavior. More interventions are needed to help improve the diabetes self-care behaviors for African-American women when first diagnosed and motivate them to get consistent, flexible care throughout their lifespan to help alleviate increasing diabetes morbidity and mortality.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Gail Young.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Chen, Wei W.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2011-02-28

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0042138:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042138/00001

Material Information

Title: Understanding Self-Care Practices for African-American Women With Type Two Diabetes
Physical Description: 1 online resource (221 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Young, Gail
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: african, american, care, diabetes, education, health, management, minority, self, women
Health Education and Behavior -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Health and Human Performance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Diabetes is a significant public health problem and a leading cause of disability and death in the United States. The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self-care activities and explore experiences of African-American women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This mixed method study used a quantitative correlational design and a qualitative descriptive design. The data was collected using surveys and semi-structured individual interviews and analyzed using SPSS 17.0 and Atlas ti 5.2. Data were transcribed verbatim and examined for emergent themes. The sample included fifty-two African-American women between the ages of 40-64 from the North Central Florida region. The mean age for the sample was 55 years. Approximately 55.8% of the participants had higher than the average knowledge for diabetes. Results showed no associations between the respondent?s level of knowledge about diabetes and certain self-care activities. However there were positive significant correlations between knowledge about diabetes and the years of education (rho=.24) and some self-care activities namely (a) specific diet (r=.28) and (b) foot care (rho=.40). Participants? experiences with diabetes varied and most were aware of at least one factor that contributed to their diabetes. Thematically, their experience and perceptions organized around dealing with diagnosis of T2DM and management of T2DM with various factors influencing both. Influential factors for a) dealing with their diabetes included perceived long term consequences, past experiences, seminal events, level of awareness and support; b) managing their diabetes included difficulties (concerns with treatment, lifestyle changes, personal barriers and inadequate resources) and facilitators (improved awareness, supports, past experiences, religious beliefs, and adapting new strategies for care). Limitations to note when interpreting the results were that there was a convenience sample, attrition, and a small sample size. Though significant associations were identified, they should not be used to predict behavior. More interventions are needed to help improve the diabetes self-care behaviors for African-American women when first diagnosed and motivate them to get consistent, flexible care throughout their lifespan to help alleviate increasing diabetes morbidity and mortality.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Gail Young.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Chen, Wei W.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2011-02-28

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0042138:00001


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UNDERSTANDING SELF-CARE PRACTICES FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN
WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES


















By

GAIL CHARMELENE DALE YOUNG


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2010
































2010 Gail Charmelene Dale Young
































To my God that sustains me, my ancestors who paved the way, my family who love me,
the mentors who encourage me, my daughter Saree Abigail Young and my husband
Mark Tefari Young who hold my heart, and to all the women who took the time to share
their stories to advance the cause of research, this is for you.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for lighting my path, bearing my burdens,

and showing me that this work is more about serving others and less about me. I am

extremely blessed to have obtained help and support from many people during my

doctoral study. I would like to convey my appreciation to my chair Dr. W. William Chen

for his unending support and shining example as a mentor and person. I am indebted to

Dr. Sheu for his instruction in methodology and for the countless hours of guidance and

support through the details of this work. My sincere appreciation extends also to Dr.

Dodd for her great example of a female Ph.D. I thank my health services research and

policy mentor Dr. R. Paul Duncan for his expertise, guidance, and support. I am

tremendously grateful to Dr. Duncan for opening my life and work to such great

possibilities and opportunities and whose time, patience, advice, and instruction were

priceless. I am also indebted to Dr. Lutz for being an amazing mentor and supporter

whose encouragement and instruction were immeasurable.

I am particularly grateful to my unofficial committee members: Dr. Hall, Dr. Bridgett

Rahim-Williams, Dr. Simpson, Dr. Sanders, Dr. Pigg, and Dr. James, and Dr. E. Newton

Jackson Jr. whose encouragement helped with various parts of the research process,

and for their role as student advocates. I would also like to thank Dr. Behar-Hornstein

for her class on dissertation writing.

Blessed am I to have been chosen by God to be the daughter of Heron and

Marjorie Dale whose love means the world to me, and whose prayers, support and

guidance have been my rock unfailing. I am so thankful that in spite of my faults they

loved me, believed in me and prayed for me even when I did not believe in myself.









I am so thankful to be blessed with wonderful in-laws, Michael and Jacqueline

Young for embracing me into their family with open arms; you all are incredible. For the

constant love, support, frank criticism, yet subtle encouragement, I salute my brothers,

Robert, Bion, and Drury Dale and I love you all with all my heart. I am also grateful to

my sisters- and brothers-in-laws LeAnne and Damian, and Sanya and Gavin, and

Anjule. To my sister Jeanne-Marie Hudson, and my niece Kaiyu, I am better for knowing

you.

Though you are not physically here with me, Grandma Davis, I know that you are

working diligently as one of God's angels to keep me forever wrapped in unconditional

love and abounding grace. Thank you for loving me and for teaching me about God and

his love, a love that constantly encircles me with an unperturbed focus that helps me

persevere and keep going forward. Grandma Young, thank you that, at 92, you still

remember every step of my journey to keep me accountable and on track.

To all my family, especially the matriarchs, Aunt Alden and Aunt Lena, and the

patriarch, Uncle Denzil Southwood-Smith, for keeping me connected to where I came

from. Also to my Godmothers Elizabeth, Hertha, and Gloria, and my adopted mother,

Aunt Gloria Norwood, who keep me grounded and constantly embrace me with love. To

Uncle Claude and Aunt Marcia, Uncle Carl and Aunt Lois, Uncle Norris, Aunt Yvonne,

Aunt Nella, Aunt Marlize, Aunt Jean, Aunt Molly, Uncle Carlyle, Aunt Philis and Aunt

Helen, your love constantly warms my heart. To my deceased forefathers, and my aunts

and uncles who I lost along this journey: Uncle John and Aunt Missie, Uncle Johnnie,

and Uncle Terrence, you will forever be in my heart.









My sincere gratitude is also extended to my church family and friends, for their

prayers, love, and constant support. Thanks to my prayer partners, Robin and Claire, I

love you. I am particularly grateful to the sisters and brothers in Christ at the Gainesville

Christian Church, my baby sitters and Ms Gladyse, my mother's prayer group and

daddy's walking group in Jamaica for their constant encouragement and support. Words

cannot express the immense appreciation I feel for the support and encouragement

from my friends and colleagues Dr. Danielle Hyles-Rainford, the future Dr. Keva

Thompson, Dr. Amrobeth, Dr. Haun, my cousins Shana-Kae Davis, Nadine Killibrew

LLB, Dr. Helen Norwood, Vanessa Norwood, Sonya Killibrew, Dr. Daryl McCartney,

Donna Southwood-Smith, Paul, David, Kevin and family, Dean and Michelle and all of

my other cousins and in-law cousins, Miguel Hastings and Tricia for tears and/or times

of commiseration. I am also grateful to Dr. John, Dr. Wilder, Dr. Manohar, Dr. Cox, Dr.

Lyles, Dr. Largo Wight, Dr. Wirth, Dr. Melissa Morris-Howard, the future Dr. Kimberly

Elliot, Dr. Georgia Bianchi, Lilly Bell, Holly, Samantha, and for their support and

example throughout this process.

A special thank you to people who, though our paths crossed for only a short time,

made such an indelible mark on me: my marriage dynamics classmates at the

Gainesville Christian Church, Dr. Jia, Jane and Lino Stanchich, Ted Emanuel, Dr. Bono.

To Dr. Paul Logan and Ms. Sally McCoy at Howard University who always showed me

such love and encouragement and helped me find my way, and my cousin Alicia who

led me to such great people, I love you all. Many thanks also to my department program

assistants Sheri and James P. Milford for all that you do and who you are. To the

dearest and best editor, Margaret Joyner, you are my unsung heroine. My thanks are









also extended to my previous co-workers the Florida Medicaid Reform Evaluation team

members and RORC group for their support. I am also grateful to all those who support

and sustain my family. I thank God for offices and staff like the Office of Graduate

Minority programs at the University of Florida and the leadership of Dr. Alexander

without which much of my work would have not been supported financially.

To my darling daughter, Saree Abigail Young, you helped me more than you will

ever know. Finally to my husband, Mark Tefari Young, for his unending support and

love, you have been my world and my voice of reason, I love you more than words are

able to express. To all my family and friends that I have not specifically named, please

know that your help, support and prayers have helped made my journey possible.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C KN O W LEDG M ENTS ...... .. ....................... .. ............................... ............... 4

LIST OF TABLES ............... ................................. .................. ......... 11

LIST O F FIG URES........................................... ............... 12

LIST OF DEFINITIONS ...... .. ....................... ...... .............................. 13

ABSTRACT ............... .................................... ....... ..... ...... ......... 14

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ................ ......... ............... .................. 16

S significance of the Study ...................... ....... ......... .. .. ........................... 20
Statement of the Research Problem ...... ............. .......... ........ 25
Purpose of the Study ................................. ................... 27
Research Q questions .............................................................. ........................... 28
Q uantitative ................. ............. ................ ........ ..... .............. 28
Qualitative ............... .............. ................ .............. ......... .. 28
Delimitations of the Study ............................................... 28
Lim stations ......... ......... ....................................... .......... ......... 29
Assumptions ........................................ ........... ............... 29
S u m m a ry ............. ......... .. .............. .. .................................................... 3 0

2 LITERATURE REVIEW .................................................. 32

Defining Chronic Illness and Diabetes ............................. .... ....... 33
Chronic Illness and the Health Care System ................................. 34
Individual's Key Role in Chronic Illness Care................................ 35
Increasing Health Care Costs ................... ... ......... .......... .. ............. 36
The Role of Literacy and Health Literacy in Diabetes Care .................. 37
Diabetes, Literacy, and Health Outcomes............................................... 41
Vulnerable Populations and African-Americans................................... 43
Importance of Culture in Diabetes Self-care .................... ................. ........ 46
Management of Diabetes and the Role of Self-Care ................... ................ 47
Factors Affecting Diabetes Self-care ......................... ......... ........ 49
Socioeconomic Factors ................... ...._.......................... 49
Level of Incom e .. ................................. .............................................. 50
Level of Education ...................... ..................... ... ............................. 50
Length of Time with Disease ...... ................ ............. ............... 51
G lycem ic Control ................................................................ .......... ......... ........ 51
Knowledge for Diabetes Self-care ............ ......... ...... ..... ......... 54
Self-Management Activities ...... ............................................ 55









M measures in Diabetes.............................. ............... 55
D iabetes Education............................... ............... 57
S u m m a ry .............. ..... ............ ................. ............................................... 5 9

3 METHODOLOGY ............................ ....... ................. 61

Theoretical Perspective ......................................... 61
Model for Understanding the Diabetic Illness-Quantitative Study .................. 61
Precursors-Background and personal characteristics ............................ 65
Precursors-Illness-related factors ......... ............ ..................... ..... 65
Precursors-Physical and social environmental factors............................ 66
Skills and experience .............. .... ....................... 66
Outcome ............... .............. ................ ............. .......... 68
Explanatory Model.................................. ............... 68
Research Design ............... .............. ................ ............. .......... 69
M e th o d s ......................... ..................... 7 3
Setting and Participants........................ ....... ........ ........ 74
Sam ple ............... .................................... ....... ........ ............... 74
Instrumentation..................... ...................... .......... 76
Demographic information Questionnaire........................... .......... 77
Spoken knowledge in low literacy diabetes scale (SKILLD)-quantitative
s tu d y ........................ ..................... 7 7
S co ring S K IL L D ...................... .. .... ............................... 7 8
Summary of diabetes self-care activities measure-quantitative study........ 78
Scoring SDSCA ........................ ................. ......... 79
Interview guide-qualitative study ..................... .... ... ........ ........ 79
Scientific Integrity.................... ...... ............... 80
Protection of Human Subjects .................................. ........... 81
Data Collection and Recruitment ............. .. ........... ......... ............... 82
Recruitment and Reimbursement......................... .............. 83
Data Collection ................ ........ .......... ............... 83
D ata A analysis P process .......... ...... ......... .............................. ............. .. 84
S u m m a ry ................................................................................................... 9 0

4 RESULTS, DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................... 92

Introduction ................. ...... ...... .................. 92
Participant Characteristics/Demographics ....................................... ........ 92
Results of Individual Research Questions ................................... ..... ........ 94
R research Q question #1 ......... ........ .. ....... .................. ............... 94
Research Question #2 ................................ ............... 94
Research Question #3........................................ ............... 97
R research Q question #4 ............. ......... .... ...... ... .. ........... ... ............ 100
Research Q question #5................ ..... .................................................... 100
Portrait of the African-American Woman with Diabetes inThis Study................... 101
Dealing with a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus ............... ............ 108
Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus-Influential Factors....................... 116









Im p e d im e n ts ............. ............. ................................................................ 1 1 7
Facilitators ................................................................................ 118
D discussion ............... ......... .. ............................................................................. 123
Background and Personal, Illness-Related, Physical.................. ... ............ 125
and Social Environmental Factors, and Skills and Experience ........................... 125
Background and Personal Factors ........... ...... ..... ....... ................ 125
Physical and Social Environm ental Factors................................................... 131
Skills and Experience .............. ... ..... ... .. .............. .............. 136
Outcomes: Diabetes Knowledge and Self-Care Activities........................... 142
D iabetes Know ledge ....................... .... ................... ................ ....... 143
Diabetes Knowledge and Self-care Activities ......... .......... ..... ............. 150
Health Education and Diabetes Self-care.............................. 157
Cost and Diabetes Self-care.............................. ............... 160
Methodological Issues ..................... ......... ................ 163
Limitations ..................... .......................... 163
S u m m a ry .............. ..... ............ ................. ............................................. 1 6 5

5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS ............... ............... 183

S u m m a ry .............. ..... ............ ................. ............................................. 1 8 3
Quantitative ............... ......... .................. 185
Qualitative ................ ......... ........ .................... 185
C o n c lu s io n s ............... ..... ...... ..... ..... ......... .............................................. 1 9 2
Implications and Recommendations for Future Research ................................. 194

APPENDIX

A DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW GUIDE................ .................... 200

B SPOKEN KNOWLEDGE IN LOW LITERACY DIABETES SCALE ............. 201

C SUMMARY OF DIABETES SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES MEASURE..................... 203

D QUALITATIVE INTERVIEW GUIDE ....... ......... ... ...... ....... 205

E LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS .................. ................. ...... 206

F LETTER TO POTENTIAL SITES FOR RECRUITMENT .............................. 208

G FLYER USED TO RECRUIT PARTICIPANTS ............... ...... .................. 209

H LIST OF REFERENCES.. ..................................................... 210

BIO G RAPHICAL SKETCH .......... ......... ....................................... 221






10









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2-1 List of variables for Q uantitative study................................... ..................... 60

4-1 Demographic characteristics of participants............. ...... .................. 173

4-2 Personal yearly income ......... .................................... ........................ 173

4-4 Participants' county ........... ............ .. ................ ............... 174

4-5 Sources of information for diabetes treatment.......................... ... ............... 174

4-6 Descriptive statistics for total SKILLD score ....... .... .................................. 175

4-7 Frequency for total SKILLD scores.... ..... .. ........................ ............. 175

4-8 K-S Z for income, years of school, length of time with diabetes, blood sugar
reading, total SKILLD score.................................. ............... 176

4-9 Correlations between SKILLD score and incomes (personal and total
h o u s e h o ld ) .................................................. ................. 1 7 7

4-10 Correlation for total SKILLD score and years of education completed ............. 177

4-11 Correlation for total SKILLD score and length of time with diabetes................. 178

4-12 Correlations for total SKILLD score and blood sugar reading........................... 178

4-13 Descriptive Statistics for participants' total SKILLD score and glycemic
c o n tro l................................................ ....... .......... ...... 1 7 8

4-15 K-S Z Scores for SDSCA-general diet, specific diet, exercise, blood sugar
testing and foot care .............................. ........................ .......... 180

4-16 Correlations for Total SKILLD score and SDSCA-general diet......................... 180

4-17 Correlations for total SKILLD score and specific diet................ ............. .. 181

4-18 Correlations for total SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise.............................. 181

4-19 Correlations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA-blood sugar testing.............. 181

4-20 Correlations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA-foot care............................... 182

4-21 Descriptive statistics for cigarette smokers.............................. 182

4-22 Independent samples test total SKILLD score and smokers and non-smokers 182









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

3-1 Adaptation of a conceptual model for understanding the crisis of a physical
illn e s s .. .............................................................. ....... 9 1









LIST OF DEFINITIONS


CRISIS THEORY


DIABETES MELLITUS


Focuses on how individuals cope with a major life crisis and
transition (Moos, 1977).

A chronic disease due to either or both insulin deficiency and
resistance to insulin action, and associated with hyperglycemia
(elevated blood glucose levels). Over time, without proper
preventive treatment, organ complications related to diabetes
develop, including heart, nerve, foot, eye, and kidney damage;
problems with pregnancy also occur (National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2005).


LENGTH OF TIME WITH DIABETES The length of time diagnosed, which is greater than
one year upon entering the study.


GLYCEMIC CONTROL


The typical levels of blood sugar more specifically glucose in an
individual with diabetes, greater than or less than 70-120 mg/dL
[3.89-6.67] of their glucose level or calculated as the proportion of
HbA1C less than 7%. (Rothman, Malone, R., Bryant, B., Wolfe,
C., Padgett, D.A., et al., 2005; Koro, Bowlin, Bourgeois, and
Fedder, 2004)


LEVEL OF EDUCATION This is the years of education that is less than a four year college
degree


LEVEL OF INCOME


Refers to diabetic women whose annual individual income is less
than $25,000 at the time of the study (CDC, 2002).


SELF-CARE/SELF-MANAGEMENT Activities undertaken by individuals to promote health,
prevent disease, limit illness, and restore health (Schoenberg and
Drungle, 2001)

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS Will only refer to low income women and those with less than
a high school degree (CDC, 2002) and those with less than a four
year college degree.

TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS (T2DM) Occurs when the body does not make enough
insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes effectively (NIDDKD,
2005).

VULNERABLE POPULATION Vulnerable populations are social groups who have an
increased relative risk or susceptibility to adverse health
outcomes (Flaskerud and Winslow, 1998).









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

UNDERSTANDING SELF-CARE PRACTICES FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN
WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES


By

Gail Charmelene Dale Young

August 2010

Chair: W. William Chen
Major: Health Behavior

Diabetes is a significant public health problem and a leading cause of disability

and death in the United States. The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes

knowledge and self-care activities and explore experiences of African-American women

with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This mixed method study used a quantitative

correlational design and a qualitative descriptive design. The data was collected using

surveys and semi-structured individual interviews and analyzed using SPSS 17.0 and

Atlas ti 5.2. Data were transcribed verbatim and examined for emergent themes.

The sample included fifty-two African-American women between the ages of 40-64

from the North Central Florida region. The mean age for the sample was 55 years.

Approximately 55.8% of the participants had higher than the average knowledge for

diabetes. Results showed no associations between the respondent's level of

knowledge about diabetes and certain self-care activities. However there were positive

significant correlations between knowledge about diabetes and the years of education

(rho=.24) and some self-care activities namely (a) specific diet (r=.28) and (b) foot care

(rho=.40).









Participants' experiences with diabetes varied and most were aware of at least

one factor that contributed to their diabetes. Thematically, their experience and

perceptions organized around dealing with diagnosis of T2DM and management of

T2DM with various factors influencing both. Influential factors for a) dealing with their

diabetes included perceived long term consequences, past experiences, seminal

events, level of awareness and support; b) managing their diabetes included difficulties

(concerns with treatment, lifestyle changes, personal barriers and inadequate

resources) and facilitators (improved awareness, supports, past experiences, religious

beliefs, and adapting new strategies for care).

Limitations to note when interpreting the results were that there was a

convenience sample, attrition, and a small sample size. Though significant associations

were identified, they should not be used to predict behavior. More interventions are

needed to help improve the diabetes self-care behaviors for African-American women

when first diagnosed and motivate them to get consistent, flexible care throughout their

lifespan to help alleviate increasing diabetes morbidity and mortality.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Chronic illnesses such as diabetes claimed the lives of approximately 35 million

people in 2005 and are also the leading causes of death worldwide (World Health

Organization (WHO), 2005). If not controlled, projected deaths from chronic illnesses

will increase by 17% in 2015 (WHO, 2005). Chronic illnesses cannot be prevented by

vaccination and they do not eventually just go away. Rather, effective prevention,

treatment, and health promotion initiatives reduce mortality, and with just a 2%

reduction in chronic illness death rates annually, as many as 36 million lives can be

saved (WHO, 2005). In America, more than 1.7 million, or seven of every ten, people

die of a chronic illness (CDC, 2005) and chronic conditions account for approximately

75 percent of the more than $2 trillion health care expenditure (CDC, 2009).

In 2005, approximately 180 million people worldwide had diabetes and 1.1 million

died from this condition (WHO, 2006). In addition, 23.6 million people, or 7.8 percent of

the American population, has diabetes, of which 17.9 million people know they have

diabetes and 5.7 million people go undiagnosed (National Institute of Diabetes and

Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2008). In addition, almost half of diabetes deaths occur

in people under 70 years of age. Fifty-five percent of diabetes deaths are women and

this number will increase by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years if urgent action is

not taken (WHO, 2006). Diabetes mellitus, therefore, is a significant public health

problem and is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States

(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2005).

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), some may argue, is the "mild diabetes",

however, this is not in keeping with the facts, especially because complications from









diabetes are the leading cause of blindness among adults. Additionally, about one-fifth

of persons with diabetes develop nephropathy which requires renal dialysis treatment or

transplantation. Additionally 30% of lower limb amputations are consequences of

diabetes, and diabetes patients have an almost three-fold risk of heart disease and

stroke (van den Arend, Stolk, Krans, Grobbee, and Schrijvers, 2000). In 2006, diabetes

was the seventh leading cause of death in America (Xu, Kochanek, Murphy, and

Tejada-Vera, 2007). Another co-morbidity is pregnancy complications (Powell, Hill,

Clancy, 2007; Thackaray, Merrill, Neiger, 2004). Diabetes is also associated with

continually changing symptoms, severity, perceived stigma, and future risk, all of which

affect adherence to health-promoting behaviors (Elliot, Ross-Degnan, Adams, Safran,

Soumerai, 2007). It is evident that the diabetes disease burden is great.

Nationally, the United States also sets goals reported in Healthy People 2010, a

report on the nation's health objectives for the coming decade. Goals for diabetes in

Healthy People 2010 include (a) increasing diabetes education from 45% to 60%

(through prevention programs), (b) reducing the disease and economic burden of

diabetes, and (c) improving the quality of life for all persons who have or are at risk for

diabetes. In addition, reducing the diabetes death rate and increasing the proportion of

adults with diabetes who perform self-blood-glucose-monitoring at least once daily are

other important goals for the nation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (DPHP), and U. S. Department of Health and

Human Services (USDHHS), 2008). The American Diabetes Association (ADA) also

developed standards of for patients with diabetes that guides healthcare providers and

patients through the complex process of managing diabetes (ADA, 2002).









Above and beyond the goals set by the nation as a whole, individuals have to set

their own goals for their diabetes care. The good news regarding diabetes is that it can

be managed. However, managing T2DM involves two interacting levels: the treatment,

consisting of self-care behavior and medical treatment, and the monitoring of the

disease, consisting of self-control and medical control (van den Arend et al., 2000).

Throughout this document, the terms diabetes self-management and diabetes self-care

(Schoenberg and Drungle, 2001) will be used interchangeably.

The primary goal of T2DM self-management is to lower blood glucose levels.

Reduced levels help to prevent the onset or progression of long-term complications, as

well as improve the cardiovascular risk profile to prevent the symptomatic

cardiovascular disease. However, various factors impact effective diabetes self-care.

These factors include limited access to care, low socioeconomic status, and low health

literacy. Literacy, as well as health literacy, impacts the ability of the nation to reach its

diabetes goals. In the United States, an estimated 44 million Americans are functionally

illiterate, and more than 90 million have inadequate literacy skills (American Medical

Association, 1999; Rothman, Malone, Bryant, Wolfe, Padgett, DeWalt,Weinberger,

Pignone, 2005). Both limited literacy and health literacy are also prevalent among

patients with diabetes, and are associated with poorer knowledge of the illness and its

complications, worse glycemic control, and higher rates of retinopathy (Powell et al.,

2007). In addition, past research showed that comprehensive diabetes disease

management programs, with educational strategies appropriate for low-literate patients,

were of greater benefit to patients with low literacy than those with higher literacy

(Rothman, Malone, Brayant, Horlen, DeWalt, Pignone, 2004).









Since one of the primary goals for diabetes, is self-care, T2DM demands that

individuals have knowledge about their condition, specifically regarding how to treat it

and its various symptoms (Rothman et al., 2005). In addition, knowledge of the

individual is critical to assess the impact of diabetes education and interventions, as well

as recognize diabetes education's intermediary role to improve patient outcomes.

Further, despite diabetes education, various studies indicate that knowledge deficits are

evident with low literate diabetics. Hence, individuals with low literacy have trouble

reading prescriptions, following their healthcare provider's instructions, understanding

their diseases, and, lack resources to help them find answers to questions. Low literacy

may translate to low disease health literacy, which ultimately results in a lack of ability to

care for specific illness such as diabetes. In addition, understanding why individuals do

not practice self-care even though they are disproportionately affected needs to be

studied more.

Further, in order to achieve goals in diabetes care for specific minority groups who

share the burden of this disease, a greater understanding is needed of the experiences

of those affected by diabetes, as well as their levels of knowledge for managing their

condition. Hence, a major call to action is that researchers, practitioners, and individuals

need to collectively identify their role in ensuring that diabetic individuals receive the

appropriate and adequate patient education, particularly for self-management skills, to

manage their condition, as well as prevent adverse health outcomes. To answer this call

to action, more research has been devoted to diabetes self-management for various

populations. Furthermore, the empirical literature highlights the success of self-

management of chronic illnesses as being related to better health outcomes. This brings









us to a question that health educators try to negotiate: How do we translate health

education into behavior? Specifically for this research, the guiding question is why do

individuals fail to properly manage their diabetes, thus undermine their well-being?

Significance of the Study

Though usually a life-long condition, diabetes can be managed. Achieving a good

outcome means changing an individual's lifestyle to promote positive diabetes care.

However, explanations of poor self-management include several interacting patient

characteristics: knowledge, attitude, motivation, and personal skills (van den Arend et

al., 2000) are important steps toward managing diabetes. Knowledge gaps exist for

individuals regarding diabetes self-care and it is important to identify how these gaps

impact individuals' self-care practices. In addition, a central tenet for changing patient

behaviors and lifestyles is health education and promotion because one of its key

assumptions is that helping individuals allows them to help themselves (van den Arend

et al., 2000). It is imperative, to improve health education for disease-specific

conditions, such as diabetes, in research and practice, because inadequate knowledge

of the effect of diet and weight on diabetes and blood pressure and a lack of knowledge

of the symptoms of hypoglycemia and its treatment may be life-threatening (Williams,

Baker, Parker, Nurss, 1998). Since past research showed that comprehensive diabetes

disease management programs were of greater benefit to patients with low literacy than

those with higher literacy (Rothman, Malone, Brayant, Horlen, DeWalt, Pignone, 2004),

it is even more compelling to address the diabetes burden, in part by education.

However, the reality is that knowledge does not translate to action, and behavior

modifications are the most difficult to achieve since individuals are asked to make

changes in lifestyle patterns established over many years.









The ADA recommends that people with diabetes visit their healthcare providers

every three to four months (Florida Department of Health, 2005). However, once

individuals have seen the healthcare practitioner, they are in control of the

recommendations they choose to implement or ignore. Individuals need to be

continuously targeted for effective diabetes self-management skills, education, and

promotion, especially because diabetes treatment regimens are complex and require

making significant lifestyle changes that are not easy. Factors that translate knowledge

into behaviors for this specific population also need to be improved.

In the past, most traditional health professional training was based on a medical

model designed to treat acute healthcare problems. Today, new approaches that take

into consideration the cultural world of the patients are increasingly necessary. These

approaches also need to recognize patients' control and responsibility for the daily self-

management of diabetes and that to succeed, a self-management plan needs to fit

patients' goals, priorities, and lifestyles (Funnell and Anderson, 2003).

Further, patients are the experts on their own lives, and are the primary decision-

makers in the control of their daily diabetes self-management (Funnell and Anderson,

2003). Unfortunately, many diabetic individuals either do not understand the importance

of the self-management practices for their long-term survival or cannot be bothered with

the regimens. Despite their reasons, since the consequences of the diabetics' decisions

accrue directly to individuals, it is even more important that they take responsibility to

manage diabetes in a way that is best suited to the context and culture of their lives

(Funnell and Anderson, 2003).









A factor that inhibits the growth of the self-management literature is that patients or

users of the healthcare system do not have as great a voice as they need in decisions

about research and practice. To achieve a healthcare system that helps patients it is

imperative that individuals do have a voice. Sofaer and Firmigner (2005) summed it up

best: "If we are truly to achieve a health care system that is patient-centered, we must

continue to search for creative ways to elicit and heed the voice of the patient". Further,

individuals' desires for information and the extent that they want to be involved in

making decisions about their health has been discussed more and studied less

(Blenkinsoopp, Bashford and Dickinson, 1998; Granas and Bates, 2005).The literature

also indicates that patients with low literacy need to be questioned orally about the

degree of involvement they desire or are capable of, in the management of their

diabetes, as well as the confidence they have in disease self-management (Powell et

al., 2007). This study will add to the research base, and individuals from vulnerable

populations may be given the opportunity to present their diabetes plight.

Past research indicates that more studies are needed to examine the experiences

of vulnerable populations with poor health status, particularly because this group has

more extensive health needs and higher utilization (Mason et al., 2002). Though the

chronically ill may only be a small segment of health plan enrollees, they generate an

outsized proportion of its healthcare expenditures, and concerns about the quality of

care provided to them warrant a better understanding of their experiences (Mason,

Scammon, Huefner, 2002). The current healthcare system, does not reward preventive

care or continuity of care. Neither does the system reward early diagnosis,

interdisciplinary care, emotional counseling, or patient and caregiver education.









Vulnerable populations are relatively overlooked by previous research that reports the

general population is satisfied and have high utilization of health plans in managed care

(Mason et al., 2002). Hence, new investigators have a responsibility to study vulnerable

populations in an effort to better target these priority populations with the scarce

prevention dollars available.

Various studies also indicated that low literacy is associated with poor disease

knowledge and self-management practices (Williams et al., 1998; Weiss, Hart, McGee,

D'Estelle, 1992; Schillinger, Grumbach, Piette, Wang, Osmond, Daher, Palacios,

Sullivan and Bindman, 2002; Powell et al., 2007). It is especially important to conduct

this research, because assessing diabetes knowledge for self-care issues and

identifying the specific behaviors of individuals with low levels of literacy may lead to

more targeted interventions (Powell et al., 2007).Unfortunately, limited research has

been done on low-literate populations and behavior change (Nath, 2007). One behavior

specific to diabetes care is preventing further complications and eventual mortality that

can occur due to ineffective or absent self-management. Preventative health behaviors

are defined as behaviors by which individuals actively improve or maintain their health

status (Cowther, Green, Armstrong, 2004). For example, in 1992, Duelberg conducted a

study among African-American women and found that they were less likely than white

women to practice preventative health behaviors. It is important to identify and add to

the gap in the literature to promote prevention messages that meet established planning

goals for the chronically ill of the nation. The specific needs of particular communities

are also important to highlight to better serve them.









Past research has also increasingly looked at diverse populations and refined

instruments, such as knowledge scales to be culturally appropriate (Vincent, Clark,

Zimmer, Sanchez, 2006). Further knowledge scales have also been developed with the

underserved population in mind, but limitations exist in these scales developed because

they have focused on closed-ended multiple-choice questions. However, Rothman and

colleagues in (2005) indicated that individuals with low literacy sometimes have a

difficult time answering multiple choice questions. They developed a new knowledge

scale to more effectively measure diabetes knowledge among individuals with diabetes,

and specifically those with low literacy.

For a number of reasons, Florida is an important state to look at when assessing

diabetes self-care knowledge for African-American women. Based on the reported

estimates, Florida is the fourth most populous state in the nation, with 67 counties and

18 million people (U.S. Census Bureau Statistics, 2005). Florida also has approximately

51% females and 49% males in the population and three major ethnic groups in, whites

(80%), Hispanics (19.5%) and African-Americans (15.7%) (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007).

In Florida, more than 8% of adults have diabetes (FDH, 2005), although only an

estimated 1 million adults know they have diabetes based on an official diagnosis (FDH,

2005), while approximately 300,000 Floridians are still unaware of their diabetes status.

In addition, similar to most states, Florida also recognizes certain disparities regarding

minorities who share a disproportionate burden of diabetes.

Despite past studies regarding understanding diabetes self-care practices, the use

of more culturally appropriate instruments, and attention in research to minority

populations, the escalating burden of diabetes in the African-American female









population still disproportionately affects these individuals. In 2004, Rahim-William's

conducted a study seeking to understand health behaviors, beliefs support systems,

and access to care and their combined impact on diabetes self-management and

glucose control. This study was not designed to capture participant's life experiences

with managing diabetes. Further, this study included women within a wide age range,

up to 87, and education level, up to doctoral degree. The present study measured the

participants, knowledge about diabetes and its self-care, as well as captured each

participant's story of their long-term living with and managing diabetes and limited the

recruitment of women to a certain age range and educational level, which makes it more

specific and tailored to further explore, understand and corroborate diabetes self-care

knowledge and practices that augment Rahim-William's (2004) study.

Statement of the Research Problem

Among some of the major challenges facing the healthcare system is helping the

increasing number of individuals diagnosed with diabetes control their condition. A

challenge specifically for diabetics is that they have not received necessary self-

management interventions (Fisher, Brownson, O'Toole, Anwuri, and Shetty, 2007)

because as many as 60 to 70% go without this intervention (Austin, 2006). In 2002, of

the 15.7 million people with diabetes, more than 8.1 million of those were women (CDC,

2002). Furthermore, approximately 95% of all persons diagnosed with diabetes and

almost 100% of all persons with undiagnosed diabetes have T2DM (CDC and U. S.

Department of Health and Human Services, 2008), while type 1 accounts for about 5%

of individuals with diabetes (NIDDKD, 2005). In addition, the chance of having T2DM

are increased by (1) having a family history of diabetes, (2) being a member of an ethnic

group, such as African-American, (3) being overweight or obese, (4) having had









diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), (5) having high blood pressure, (6)

having abnormal cholesterol (lipid) levels, and (7) having limited physical activity (FDH,

2005).

The diabetes epidemic also disproportionately affects women. In diabetes care,

positive outcomes depend on individual lifestyles, such as individual self-management,

for example, appropriate diet and use of medications (Elliot et al., 2007). On average,

individuals with diabetes will spend a few hours yearly in a physician's office, but more

than 8760 hours yearly on their own (Fisher et al., 2007). It is therefore important to

improve self-management practices across a diverse population regardless of the

diabetic's health literacy or socioeconomic status. In short, those in racial and minority

groups are disproportionately affected by diabetes. It occurs two to four times more

often among African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian-Pacific

women than among white women (CDC, 2002).

The most common complication of diabetes is the risk of heart disease. Women

with diabetes who suffer a heart attack have poorer subsequent quality of life and lower

survival rates than men in the 25 to 44 year age bracket (CDC 2002). Another burden

for women with diabetes is that death rates for these women are three times the rate for

women without diabetes In addition, middle-aged women with T2DM tend to have less

education, lower income, and are less likely to be employed when compared to women

without diabetes (CDC, 2002). Furthermore, social and economic issues leave many

older women living alone and poor, and in Florida 28.5% of women in the 45 to 64 age

bracket with diabetes have an annual family income of less than $10,000 and more than

half, have less than $20,000 (CDC, 2002).









The extent of low literacy and health literacy levels for people with diabetes

regarding essential diabetes knowledge coupled with the need to accurately measure

diabetes knowledge were instrumental factors that motivated Rothman and colleagues

(2005) to develop a scale to measure this knowledge for self-care for a low literate

population. Previous knowledge scales had certain limitations. For example, they were

often lengthy or too complicated for individuals with limited educational backgrounds

and low literacy (Rothman et al., 2005; Speight and Bradley, 2001) and could be

outdated, since many were developed in the 1980s (Speight and Bradley, 2001).

Hence, continued use of scales such as the one developed by Rothman and colleagues

that specifically target low literate individuals will better address this population

regarding diabetes self-care practices.

This study differs from previous studies in two significant ways. First, the

investigator obtained a picture of daily self-care struggles for those who have not

necessarily been in an intense control program for their diabetes and have

compounding factors that make them particularly vulnerable to increased morbidity,

defeatist perceptions, and poor self-care behaviors. Second, the goal of this study is to

apply a modified model for understanding the crisis of physical illness using a mixed

methodology to identify key elements that seek to improve self-care practices for a

socioeconomic group that have for the most part, low literacy and poor behavioral

outcomes and is less studied.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self-care

activities and explore experiences of African-American women with T2DM. Specifically,

this study (1) assessed knowledge about diabetes in African-American women; (2)









explored the associations between African-American women's knowledge of diabetes

and (a) income level, (b) years of education, (c) length of time with diabetes, (d)

glycemic control, and (e) self-care activities; (3) explored experiences of African-

American women about managing their diabetes as well as their understanding of

diabetes. This study also used a mixed methodology to examine a modified model for

understanding the adaption to a physical illness.

Research Questions

Quantitative

1) What knowledge level do African-American women with diabetes have about their
diabetes?

2) Was African-American women's knowledge level about their diabetes self-care
associated with income, year of education, length of time with diabetes, and
glycemic control?

Null Hypothesis H01. Respondent's knowledge scores had no associations to a)

income, b) years of education, c) length of time with diabetes, and d) glycemic control.

3) What were the associations between African-American women's levels of
knowledge for diabetes self-care and their self-care activities?

Null Hypothesis H02. There were no associations between respondent levels of

knowledge for diabetes self-care and their self-care activities.

Qualitative

4) What were African-American women's experiences managing their diabetes?
What adaptive tasks and coping skills did they use?

5) How did African-American women perceive their diabetes? What did diabetes
mean to them?

Delimitations of the Study

The following delimitations should be considered in this study.

1. Study participants included African-American women with diabetes who were
recruited primarily from the Gainesville community and surrounding area health









clinics, low-income communities, churches, low-income programs, and beauty
salons.

2. Data collection was during the 2009-2010 academic year.

3. Demographic data were collected using a questionnaire to obtain self-reported
participant characteristics.

4. The study used an embedded mixed methods-correlational model with a
quantitative correlational design and a descriptive qualitative research design
only.

5. The age range was appropriate for the study purpose.

Limitations

1. The counties chosen for the study may not represent all African-American
women in the state of Florida.

2. The participants in this study were all from the North Central Florida community
(Alachua, Putnam, and Levy counties)

3. Participants' knowledge assessment, self-care activities, and perceptions
represented one point in time and may not account for any changes as their
diabetes condition evolved or the healthcare system changes.

4. Demographic information obtained from study participants did not capture all
relevant information about participants.

5. Data collected during the 2009-2010 academic year may vary from data
collected during other periods of time.

6. Interview guides may not identify all associated perspectives.

7. Use of qualitative research design limited measurable data analysis for that
component of the study.

8. Diabetes knowledge and self-care activities, for this study was measured by self
report.

9. Threats to internal and external validity were: a) limitations for interpreting the
findings, b) potential threats to the study, c) limitations of the researcher-
constructed interview guide and d) limitations of recruiting participants.

Assumptions

1. Interview guides developed for use were adequate to answer the research
questions.









2. Data collected during the academic year 2009-2010 were considered adequate
for the purpose of the study.

3. Demographic data obtained from the participants were adequate for the
purposes of the study.

4. Participants provide accurate information that answered the research questions.

5. Collecting data using a valid and reliable diabetes knowledge assessment, self-
care activities measure, and an interview guide were considered adequate tools
for collecting data for the purpose of this study.

Summary

Chronic illnesses are the leading cause of death worldwide, and nationally. In

addition, more than 8% of Florida adults have diabetes (FDH, 2005). Diabetes is a

chronic illness that requires patient education for self-management to adequately

control the condition as well as prevent adverse health outcomes that are in large part

due to an individual's lifestyle. Further, good outcomes in chronic illness are promoted

by good self-care behaviors. Diabetes as a chronic illness is a significant public health

problem.

Literacy and health literacy are primary indicators of one's health status. Low

health literacy is prevalent among patients with diabetes and associated with a poorer

knowledge of the illness and its complications, for example, worse glycemic control and

higher rates of retinopathy (Powell et al., 2007). However, barriers to a patient's

education will remain unless health educators, nurses, and other providers make a

conscious effort to simplify care, tailor education, and reduce the perceived complexity

of the healthcare system (Nath, 2007).

The goals of Healthy People 2010 (CDC, DPHP, and USDHHS, 2008) that

addresses diabetes and the ADA agendas, if achieved, will improve health outcomes.

However, prevention efforts do not effectively meet the needs of those who are low









income and have low literacy. Therefore, more research is needed, especially because

diabetes is a condition that touches almost everyone's life; most individuals know

someone who has this ongoing and life-long disease. Moreover, worldwide 36 million

lives could be saved through an annual 2% reduction in chronic disease death rates

(WHO, 2005). Consequently, it is important to identify populations particularly at risk

and give them a voice. Health educators also need to better target vulnerable

populations to help them develop proper diabetes self-management skills. The objective

of this study was to assess a representative group of African-American women with

T2DM regarding their knowledge of diabetes and their self-care activities, and to explore

their experiences with their diabetes self-care instruction and practices.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

This study focused on the assessment of diabetes knowledge and self-care

activities among African-American women in North Central Florida. Their perceptions

and understanding of diabetes, particularly with respect to managing their condition,

were also explored. This is the first study that applied the model for understanding the

crisis of a chronic illness to (1) assess diabetes knowledge and self-care activities in

low- income African-American women and (2) explore their experiences with self-care

practices from a quantitative and qualitative data collection methodology. Identifying the

factors and processes by which individuals adapt and improve self-care behavioral

practices by surmounting a series of crisis provides a shift in the conceptual lens

through which diabetes care and treatment programs are viewed today (Misra and

Lager, 2008).

A limited number of studies have reported, from the patient's view, the process

nature of learning to manage their diabetes care (Ellison and Rayman, 1998;

Hernandez, 1995; Price, 1993; Rayman and Ellison, 2004). In early self-management

regimens, one study found that individuals set aside their personal preferences despite

lifestyle disruption and negative body responses, and were more motivated to follow the

prescribed self-care practices (Price, 1993), while another study illustrated comparable

results in that individuals were adhering to professional advice about their care practices

(Hernandez, 1995). In a similar light, another study showed that women, described as

good self-managers by their providers, described their early times of learning self-

management as chaotic and very difficult (Ellison and Rayman, 1998). However, in

more recent studies, a qualitative study that described the early experiences and day-









by-day reality of learning to self-manage T2DM among women in an intensive control

program (Rayman and Ellison, 2004) sought to identify some of the reasons for this

chaos, because understanding the problems incurred in the early time of self-

management is necessary to the design and timing of positive intervention

management.

Defining Chronic Illness and Diabetes

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the term "chronic disease"

includes heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease), cancer, chronic respiratory

diseases, diabetes, and visual and hearing impairment. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates

distinguished diseases that were acute (abrupt, sharp, and brief) from those that were

chronic (Shiel and Stoppler, 2008). The term "chronic" comes from the Greek chronos,

time, and means lasting a long time. Various definitions exist for chronic illnesses. For

this study, chronic illness is defined as a disease that has one or more of the following

characteristics: they are permanent, leave residual disability, are caused by

nonreversible pathological alteration, require special training of the patient for

rehabilitation, or may be expected to require a long period of supervision, observation,

or care (Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, 2004).

The diabetic chronic illness was the focus for this study. Diabetes is a group of

diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin

production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and

premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and

lower the risk of complications (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney

Diseases, 2005). There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and 2. Type diabetes,

formerly called juvenile diabetes, results when the body's immune system attacks and









destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas (NIDDKD, 2005). On the

other hand, T2DM, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, usually develops in adults over

the age of 40, but is increasingly prevalent in younger age groups, including children

and adolescents. It occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use

the insulin it makes effectively (NIDDKD, 2005). Type 2 diabetes mellitus will be the

focus of this study.

Chronic Illness and the Health Care System

The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report "Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New

Health System for the 21st Century" (IOM, 2001) outlined six specific aims for

improvement in the health and functioning of Americans, one of which is patient-

centered care. Patient-centered care is defined as "providing care that is respectful of

and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that

patient values guide all clinical decisions" (IOM, 2001). This is important because a

healthcare system that achieves patient-centered care, in part, would more effectively

meet their needs (IOM, 2001). Patient-centered care is a goal of the IOM, and some

patients feel that this represents a move from a disease focus to the "whole person."

Health education is an integral part of meeting patient's needs within the healthcare

system. Hence, it is particularly important to examine gaps in health education for

individuals with diabetes, within the context of clinical services.

For the twenty-first century, the challenge therefore is to design a system that

meets the needs of those with serious and potentially disabling chronic illness and

reduce the progression of disability and improve functional status and quality of life. To

accomplish this, the Chronic Illness Care Improvement Act of 2000 amended Title XVIII

of the Social Security Act, to include the intention to bring about excellence to the care









of chronic illness and help America move forward in identifying proactive strategies to

prevent complications and disability (U.S. Congress, 2000). Despite this agenda and the

complex care needed for the chronically ill, due in part to diverse service needs

delivered by multiple providers in numerous settings, delays in care and worsened

conditions exist (Ireys, Thronton, Mckay, 2002).

In addition, challenges exist for Medicaid enrollees recruited as part of the

population of interest. Chronically ill Medicaid enrollees also face additional burdens

because, this population bears the brunt of disparities for health care since they are

disproportionately affected by various chronic conditions, such as diabetes. The impact

of worse conditions means that larger portions of budgets, including the Medicaid

budget, are spent on these needs.

Medical advances also impact the growing need for diabetes education for self-

care because the twentieth century medical discoveries have dramatically prolonged the

life expectancies of persons with all types of chronic illnesses, transforming many

illnesses from rapidly disabling conditions to chronic conditions that people can live with

for a long time. For the twenty-first century therefore, the challenge is to reduce the

progression of disability and improve the functional status and quality of life of persons

with chronic illness.

Individual's Key Role in Chronic Illness Care

Despite attempts to encourage, cajole, and persuade patients to perform self-care

tasks, practitioner frustrations mount when patients are unwilling or unable to follow

advice and achieve desired outcomes (Funnell and Anderson, 2003). Traditionally, the

success of patients to manage their diabetes has been judged by their ability to adhere

to a prescribed therapeutic regimen. Unfortunately, this approach does not match the









reality of diabetes self-care. Individuals need more information and in-home guidance

about their condition, especially because of the serious and chronic nature of diabetes,

the complexity of its management, and the multiple daily self-care decisions required of

those with diabetes. In this regard, adhering to a predetermined care program is

generally not enough to manage diabetes over the course of a person's life (Funnell and

Anderson, 2003); the care needs to be flexible, yet consistent.

Increasing Health Care Costs

Today the economic burden in our society of chronic conditions is great. Chronic

conditions account for approximately 75% of the $2+ trillion healthcare expenditure

(CDC, 2009). Contrary to many Americans' belief that acute care consumes all the

healthcare system dollars, treating chronic conditions is the real culprit, affecting people

of different ages, income levels, and geographic regions (Anderson and Knickman,

2001). Chronically ill individuals are expensive to treat within the healthcare system and

are a key driver of medical care costs. In addition, total health care and related costs for

the treatment of diabetes runs about $132 billion annually (NIDDKD, 2005). Various

trends and factors impact a diabetic's self-care, including limited insurance coverage,

medical advances, an increasing aging and obese population, greater longevity, and

limited prevention and health promotion efforts, such as diabetes education. Limited

health insurance coverage is one of the greatest challenges facing people. It specifically

affects the poor and disabled, such as those on Medicaid, especially those who are

chronically ill (Anderson and Knickman, 2001; Ireys et al., 2002). Therefore some argue

that these trends exacerbate the consequences of chronic illnesses to the individual

especially because they purport that healthcare system is designed to deliver acute

symptom-driven crisis management care, it is less effectively configured to financially









contribute to diabetes self-care through health promotion, particularly regarding the

development of a collaborative daily self-care plan.

The Role of Literacy and Health Literacy in Diabetes Care

Since 2003, health literacy has received increasing attention (Weiss, 2005).

According to the National Health Literacy Act of 2007, health literacy is an individual's

ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed

to make appropriate healthcare decisions (U.S. Congress, 2007). It is clear that health

literacy involves not only understanding health information, but also how to obtain

services to integrate care practices, particularly for diabetes self-care. The difference

between health literacy and general literacy is that general literacy is the basic ability to

read, write, and compute, without regard to the context in which the reading and writing

occur, while health literacy specifically incorporates the context of health care and

assumes that the reading and understanding occurs within the healthcare context

(Weiss, 2005).

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently indicated that

only 1 in 10 adult Americans have all the skills needed to manage their health, and 12%

have the skills to manage their own health care proficiently (AHRQ, 2007). For example,

a generally literate individual may have inadequate functional health literacy capabilities

in the healthcare environment (Consumer Health Advisory Committee, 2000). The

National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) primarily estimates general literacy in the overall

population, but also obtains data on select subpopulations. The elderly and racial and

ethnic minority groups were subpopulations included in the study, and poorer literacy,

which disproportionately affected them, had prevalence as high as 80%. The NALS also

indicated that the African-American population had an illiteracy rate of over 41% as









compared to 22% in the general U.S. adult population (Weiss, 2005). Ultimately, this

low general literacy seems to cross over, thus translating into poor health literacy in

African-American populations.

To identify the state of the science for overcoming inadequate literacy in diabetes

self-care, in a review of the literature between 1990 and 2006, health literacy was found

to be a stronger predictor of health status than socioeconomic status, age, or ethnic

background (Nath, 2007). The review focused on studies that identified literacy as a

factor in self-management outcomes, highlighting effective strategies to overcome

barriers posed by inadequate literacy. In addition, studies of both indigent and Medicare

populations indicate that health literacy is lower among older adults (Gazmararian,

Williams, Peel, and Baker, 2003). Further, other research suggested that system,

provider, and patient factors also contribute to health literacy (Weiss, 2005).

Low literacy is associated with poor disease-related knowledge and self-

management strategies, worse self-reported health status, poor adherence to treatment,

and a 30 to 50% increased risk for hospitalization (Powell et al., 2007; Schillinger et al.,

2002; Weiss et al, 1992; Williams et al.,1998). Furthermore, research also suggests

various factors for measuring health literacy. Contributing factors to measuring health

literacy levels consist of reading fluency, prior knowledge, barriers, oral complexity,

complexity of health information, culture, and social norms (Baker, 2006). In addition,

depending on the context and setting, health literacy aptitude does not rest only on

general reading ability, but also on years of education.

One of the first studies to measure the functional health literacy skills of non-

indigent patients with chronic disease evaluated the relationship of literacy to patients'









knowledge of disease and self-management skills and outcomes, and confirmed that

individuals with inadequate health literacy know less about their disease (Gazmararian

et al., 2003). That study on health literacy and knowledge of chronic disease used a

cross-sectional survey and measured health literacy using the Short Test of Functional

Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA). The sample consisted of 653 Medicare enrollees

65 and older. Results indicate that, overall, 24% of patients had inadequate and 12%

had marginal health literacy skills. Respondents with inadequate health literacy knew

significantly less about their disease than those with adequate literacy. Multivariate

analyses indicated that health literacy was independently related to disease knowledge

(Gazmararian et al., 2003).

Gazmararian and colleagues (2003) further indicated that there are many

opportunities to improve patients' knowledge of their chronic diseases, and efforts need

to consider their health literacy skills. Knowledge therefore remains an important goal of

patient education programs, and the results showed that many patients with inadequate

functional health literacy, even those who had attended formal diabetes education

programs, did not know the basics of their disease and good self-management skills

(Williams et al., 1998).

Past research has shown high rates of limited health literacy among older adults

and even after adjusting for measures of cognitive dysfunction, an association between

limited health literacy and age has been found (Baker, 2000). Low-income older adults

in some studies had reading skills at or below the fourth-grade level, had difficulty

understanding information provided by their providers, and learned information from

television instead of the healthcare system. Other studies indicate that both lower and









upper socioeconomic strata older adults have low literacy (Baker, 2000). In persons

with limited education, low literacy is present. Hence, those with limited education also

have high rates of limited general literacy, with more than 80% of those not finishing

high school as reported on the NALS having poor reading skills (Weiss, 2005).

Various studies also identify the relationship between health literacy and other

factors, such as diabetes knowledge, self-efficacy, and self-care. For example, Sarkar

and colleagues (2006) reported an association between self-efficacy and self-

management that persisted across ethnic groups and health literacy levels. This finding

suggests that carefully designed self-management interventions targeting self-efficacy

may be effective in populations with low literacy. This leaves key questions as to how to

mobilize and involve patients in their own care and guide them in learning about their

diabetes. Several factors contribute to self- efficacy and improve education outcomes

for adults with diabetes, such as providers involving patients in their own care and

guiding them in actively learning about the disease.

In addition, Skelly and colleagues (2000) indicated that preliminary work must be

done to identify concepts that are important to the particular group under study. This call

has been answered in other studies that focused not only on African-Americans, but

Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, in developing culturally appropriate messages.

However, studies such as the present one are needed to continue this research

endeavor because the diabetes epidemic continues to rise disproportionately in minority

populations.

In the healthcare setting, literacy has been measured by the two most widely used

instruments: the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM, available only in









English) and the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA, available in

English and Spanish) (Weiss, 2005). Specifically, the REALM is a word-recognition test

where individuals read from a list of progressively more difficult medical words and the

maximum difficulty level at which words can be read and pronounced correctly defines

their health literacy. The TOFHLA is an inherently more difficult test than the REALM,

because it involves reading appointment slips, interpreting prescriptions, and filling in

missing words on a consent form (Weiss, 2005).

Regarding diabetes care, there are complex regimens that need to be followed,

and such layered problems such as language, exist to achieve this care, culture, and an

intricate healthcare system that is difficult to navigate (Nath, 2007). All these factors can

make the self-care burden for diabetes overwhelming, especially to someone with

inadequate literacy.

Diabetes, Literacy, and Health Outcomes

Seminal works have defined the effect of literacy on health outcomes in the United

States. First, the IOM report (2001) concluded that most health professionals and

policymakers lack understanding about the barriers posed by inadequate health literacy.

Second, an AHRQ report (2007) found an association between inadequate literacy, as

measured by reading skills, and several adverse health outcomes, including increased

incidence of chronic illness, relatively poor intermediate disease markers, and

suboptimal use of preventive health services (Nath, 2007). Past intervention studies

within a group setting have tried to meet the needs of diverse groups, such as

combining those with diabetes type 1 and 2, combining males and females, and

including individuals from wide age ranges and diverse ethnic backgrounds (Brown,









1999). However, separating groups based on characteristics and keeping groups small

has resulted in better compliance (Brown, 1999).

Though successful diabetes care includes such needed factors as two-way

communication between healthcare providers and patients and involvement of patients

in treatment decisions, the active participation of patients in self-care and goal setting

are key. Those with inadequate health literacy however may lack the skills to

accomplish such tasks, and find it difficult or impossible to access and understand

healthcare information and instructions or to implement recommended behaviors (Nath,

2007).

In 2000, Skelly and colleagues developed and tested culturally sensitive

instruments, for African-American women, with T2DM. The purpose was to present a

method for developing new instruments and/or modifying existing instruments to identify

and measure important sociocultural constructs that influence self-care practices by

these women. Results from this study indicate that perceptions of self-efficacy were

high among group members for certain diabetes self-care activities (e.g., administering

medication, home blood glucose monitoring), yet participants felt least confident about

their diet and physical activity practices (Skelly, Samuel-Hodge, Elasy, Ammerman,

Headen, and Keyserling, 2000).

Knowledge of diabetes among group members was limited; for example, several

participants expressed uncertainty about the meaning of blood glucose values and the

rationale for treatment recommendations, particularly those relating to diet. (Skelly et al.,

2000). Moreover, questions were raised about the most fundamental areas of self-care.

It was found that many participants had received inadequate diabetes education or the









effectiveness of the diabetes education they had received was limited by lack of

comprehension of basic terminology often used by healthcare providers (Skelly et al.,

2000). In the large review of intervention studies commissioned by AHRQ, Pignone and

colleagues (2005) found several interventions related to knowledge outcomes, but few

dedicated to health behaviors, such as dietary patterns. In addition, self-efficacy, a term

based on social cognitive theory, suggests that patients' confidence in their ability to

perform health behaviors influences which behaviors they will engage in (Bandura,

1986). This is reinforced by past research that indicates personal evaluation of health is

a complex process not fully understood (Silverman, Smola and Musa, 2000; Idler,

1999), and the cognitive complex process of assessing one's health changes as factors

in one's illness experience change (Silverman et al., 2000).

Vulnerable Populations and African-Americans

Vulnerable populations are defined as social groups who have an increased

relative risk or susceptibility to adverse health outcomes (Flaskerud and Winslow, 1998)

evidenced by increased morbidity, premature mortality, and diminished quality of life.

These vulnerable groups are the poor and persons subject to discrimination,

intolerance, subordination and stigma, politically marginalized, disenfranchised and

denied human rights, and typically include women and children, ethnic people of color,

immigrants, gay men and lesbians, the homeless, and the elderly (Flaskerud and

Winslow, 1998). For example, on average, African-Americans are 1.8 times more likely

to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites of similar age. Thirteen percent of African-

Americans aged 20 years and older have diabetes (NIDDKD, 2005).

Until the twentieth century, most Americans of African ancestry lived in the south

without any formalized system of health care. Today, in the twenty-first century, the









advent of health clinics and Medicaid and Medicare have made those who traditionally

have had limited access to and experience with the healthcare system receive care and

use services, although poverty and inadequate health care continue to be a problem in

health care delivery. Further disparities in health status are discussed extensively since

lifestyle, reduced access to heath care resources, lack of health insurance, limited

knowledge of health promotion disease prevention behaviors and practices, and certain

genetic variables contribute to disparities in health status (Ashley, 1999).

Further, individuals from different races are not homogeneous. Slavery, despite

what some think, was not the beginning of differences in African-Americans as a group

(Ashley, 1999); rather these differences existed above and beyond that experience

because of migration to the United States. Hence, great diversity within the general

population as well as those in the African ancestry exists about attitudes, behaviors, and

beliefs. Compared to other groups in the United States, African-Americans lag behind

on most health indicators, particularly for diabetes. Further, African-Americans are more

susceptible to cancer, heart disease and stroke, death by homicide and unintentional

injuries, infant mortality, and substance abuse (Ashley, 1999).

Unfortunately some of these disparities go unaddressed, and one of the main

goals of Healthy People 2010 today is reducing disparities in health. Diabetes is one

disease that disproportionately affects minority populations. The fact that the gap exists

today suggests that social factors, for example, inadequate education and public access

to healthcare, to name a few, still play a significant role in health outcomes with

sociocultural and behavioral lifestyle issues being highly correlated with these

disparities (Ashley, 1999).









It is therefore evident that meanings applied to health by various ethnic groups

also vary substantially. For example, a study of 114 Medicare community dwellers of

older African-Americans and whites with chronic illnesses by Silverman et al. (2000)

found participants frequently assigned the attribute of the presence of functional

capacities as being healthy. African- Americans, more than whites, mostly attributed

the absence of medical and physical symptoms as being healthy. In addition, African-

Americans did not mention psychological attributes for being either healthy or not

healthy while whites did so when defining the meaning of healthy. Whites also generally

identified more attributes when characterizing the condition of not being healthy.

Similar to other literature, this study suggested that health is a multidimensional

construct, but it also highlighted that healthy may be more connected to ones' total life

experiences than is a designation of not healthy.

With regard to the elements of achieving successful programs in communities,

such as low income, low literate African-American communities, need assessments,

program plan development, implementation, and evaluation are essential (Ashley,

1999). Although health education is an effective tool to potentially improve the health

status of Americans, more needs to be done. Furthermore, in African-American

communities, a lack of health education still plays a key role, especially since the most

elementary information about disease and disease prevention very often is deficient in

this population (Ashley, 1999).

Further, though chronic illness is not the exclusive domain of older adult's age

plays an important role in the development of chronic illness, and approximately 80% of

older adults have at least one chronic disorder (Holmes, 2006). Hence, as the









population ages, and obesity becomes more prevalent, the need for diabetes education

and self care is urgent (Lewis, 2007). In addition, the prevalence of diabetes among

adults in Florida has also continued to increase (Florida Department of Health, 2005).

The prevalence of obesity among people with diabetes is 44.6%, more than twice the

rate of those who do not have diabetes (FDH, 2005). Among race, the prevalence of

obesity varies; non-Hispanic blacks have a higher prevalence of obesity (62.1% than

non-Hispanic whites (42.6%). The prevalence of obesity among non-Hispanic black

women is significantly higher (70.9%) than that for non-Hispanic white women (44.1%)

and non-Hispanic white men (41.2%) (FDH, 2005). The prevalence also significantly

differs by age. People between 45 and 64 years have a higher prevalence (55.7%) of

obesity than adults 65 years and older (34.7%) (FDH, 2005).

For the purpose of this study, African-American women with diabetes will be the

vulnerable population of interest. This population was chosen not only because of the

increasing prevalence of diabetes in this population, but also because greater insight

will be obtained into gaps in self-management practices to better guide future

interventions and policies for health promotion and prevention, and to improve treatment

initiatives for this population.

Importance of Culture in Diabetes Self-care

The diabetes and behavioral change literature emphasizes the importance of

understanding an individual's cultural beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions because these

factors are also important determinants of the ways in which people with diabetes

behave with respect to their self-care (Skelly et al., 2000; Maillet, D'Eramo, Melkus and

Spollett, 1996). It is therefore imperative that prevention of worsening conditions and

promotion of ongoing care are a constant focus for improving the system. In addition,









limited work addresses the unique needs of sicker patients from their perspective;

researchers suggest that more studies examining the experiences of vulnerable

populations with poor health status are needed, particularly because this group has

more extensive needs and higher utilization (Mason et al., 2002). Further, the Silverman

et al. (2000) study suggested that health is a multidimensional construct, and, as such,

may be more connected to an individual's total life experiences than would be a

designation of not healthy.

In addition, past research has provided limited information on the sociocultural

factors that influence self-care practices among African-Americans with diabetes. For

this study it is also anticipated that various factors, including but not limited to,

sociocultural factors may emerge from the data. This will be important to add another

dimension to the literature by identifying those factors that help future researchers to

find ways to measure the sociocultural variables that affect self-care practices in

minority populations.

Management of Diabetes and the Role of Self-Care

The consumer shift in health care, which advocates for patients taking more active

roles in medical encounters and engaging in increased self-care, has gained increasing

momentum since the 1980s and has spurred growing research attention to chronic

illness self-management research (Gallant, 2003). Self-management of chronic illness

refers to the daily activities that individuals undertake to control their illness, minimize its

impact on physical health status and functioning, and cope with the psychosocial

process of the illness (Clark, Beker, Janz, Lorig and Rakowski, 1991; Gallant, 2003).

Consequently, self-management entails a high level of control on the patients' part, and









some independence regarding adjusting the regimen is essential and requires

deliberate decision-making and problem-solving (Gallant, 2003).

Diabetes self-management education plays a specific role in diabetes care

because it is an ongoing process of facilitating the knowledge, skill, and ability

necessary for diabetes self-care (Funnell et al., 2009). This education incorporates the

needs, goals, and life experiences of the diabetic for the ultimate outcomes of informed

decision-making, self-care behaviors, problem-solving, and active collaboration with the

healthcare team to improve clinical outcomes, health status, and quality of life (Funnell

et al., 2009).

Successful self-management requires the mastering of three sets of tasks: (1)

making informed decisions about care, (2) performing activities aimed at management

of the condition, and (3) applying the skills necessary for maintaining adequate

psychosocial functioning (Clark et al., 1991). In addition, Clark and colleagues (1991)

indicated that although self-management tasks are specific to an illness, for example,

measuring blood glucose for diabetes, there are also core self-management tasks that

are common to all illness categories that include physical activity, smoking cessation,

maintaining diet, recognizing and responding to symptoms, and taking medications

properly, to list a few.

For many vulnerable populations, increased barriers to self-care exist. They may

include a lack of financial resources, unawareness that services even exist, fear or

distrust of large (or small) institutions, lack of transportation, and low health literacy.

Although communities may have various diabetes self-management education









programs, these target populations may not take advantage of them or fail to

incorporate them into their daily lives.

Increasingly, empirical research indicates that successful self-management of

chronic illness is related to better overall physical and psychological health outcomes

(Clark et al., 1991; Gallant, 2003; Fisher, Arfken, Heins, Houston, Jeffe, Sykes, 1997).

Further, Gallant (2003) indicated that a full understanding of the social context of

chronic illness self-management may result in key implications for the design of

interventions that seek to enhance self-management behavior, as well as for the health

and well-being of individuals with chronic illness.

Randomized controlled trials of self-management educational interventions have

been shown to influence positive health outcomes for individuals with heart disease,

arthritis, asthma, and other illnesses (Bailey et al.,1990; Bartholomew et al., 1997; Clark

et al., 1997; Clark, Janz, Dodge, Schork, Fingerlin, Wheeler, Liang, Keteyian, Santinga,

2000; Gallant, 2003; Lorig and Holman, 1993).

Factors Affecting Diabetes Self-care

Correlates of knowledge for diabetes self-care include socioeconomic status,

length of time with disease, glycemic control, and self-care activities. Evidence from

previous research highlights these factors in the literature that illustrate these

associations. Table 2-1 indicates the variables used in the study.

Socioeconomic Factors

In 2000, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control assessed the socioeconomic status

(SES) of women with diabetes from data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance

System (BRFSS). The findings indicated that women with diabetes in 2000 had

markedly lower SES levels than women who did not have diabetes (CDC, 2002).









Though SES incorporates factors such as income, size of household, marital status,

employment status, and living arrangements, for the CDC study women were classified

as having a low SES if they did not complete high school or lived in a household with an

annual income of less than $25,000. Findings suggest that a higher educational level

may influence a woman's decision-making, while those women with higher income may

have better access to health care, higher living standards, and other material benefits

that have a positive impact on health (CDC, 2002). Similarly, in this present study, SES

will refer to low income women (annual household income < $25,000) and mostly those

with less than a high school degree as well as women with less than a four year college

degree.

Level of Income

A woman with diabetes, whose annual individual household income was less than

or equal to $25,000 at the time of the study, was regarded as low income. It is important

to identify if level of income in the literature is associated with factors such glycemic

control for other populations where race and gender were the same and the population

was more homogenous. Other studies did not identify a relationship between glycemic

control to socioeconomic status or access to medical care in racial or ethnic groups

studied (Harris, Eastman, Cowie, Flegal and Eberhardt, 1999). The function of

identifying level of income will be to describe any association that may emerge from

women with low SES with their diabetes knowledge for self-care.

Level of Education

Numerous studies confirmed an association between (1) inadequate health

literacy and adverse outcomes in patients with diabetes and (2) a poor match between

readability of printed materials, internet offerings, and interactive multimedia and the









population for which the materials are intended (Nath, 2007). In addition, depending on

the context and setting, health literacy aptitude does not rest only on general reading

ability, but also on years of education (Consumer Health Advisory Committee, 2000).

The literacy category used the level of education, which represented the years of

education that was less than a four-year college degree. Further, determinants of health

literacy also include age, language, race, ethnicity, employment, SES, and environment

(Pawlak, 2005). One study using a qualitative study, explored how older adults with

multiple illnesses make choices about medications and results indicated that there was

no evidence of "adherent" personalities. However, a limitation to the study was that

educational attainment was not determined. As previously discussed, education,

specifically level of literacy was a strong predictor of self-care behaviors. Health

education is a prerequisite for effective self-management of diabetes, but previous

research corroborates that knowledge does not necessarily predict outcome (Nath,

2007). Therefore, in populations that have large knowledge deficits, even a small

increase in knowledge may contribute to improved self-care (Nath, 2007).

Length of Time with Disease

Other factors, such as duration of disease, may be stronger predictors of

metabolic control (Nath, 2007). This has been used in previous work regarding its

impact on glycemic control. It will also be used in this study and referred to as length of

time diagnosed with diabetes, which is greater than one year upon entering the study.

Glycemic Control

Testing of HbA1C values is now the main way to measure and track glycemic

control in diabetics, and patients knowledge of these values may be useful as a

precondition for their involvement in their diabetes self-management (Harris, Piette,









Spencer, Kiefer, Vijan, 2005). Therefore achieving metabolic control requires improved

diabetes self-management, especially because it helps to reduce diabetes

complications, as well as improve quality of life (Misra and Lager, 2008). The single

most important clinical characteristic of the individual with diabetes is the blood glucose

level because this defines the disease and is a major risk factor for complications of

diabetes (Harris, Eastman, Cowie, Flegal and Eberhardt, 1999). Further, Harris and

colleagues (1999) conducted one of the first studies that evaluated glycemic control in a

representative sample of U.S. adults with T2DM. They found that most patients had not

self-monitored and the use of multiple daily insulin injections was more common in

whites than non-Hispanic African-Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and Mexican-

Americans. Glycemic control in a general sense refers to the typical levels of blood

sugar, more specifically, glucose, in an individual with diabetes. This is a factor used

repeatedly in the literature as a variable of interest for selection of subjects for various

studies. In addition, an extensive review of intervention studies commissioned by

AHRQ, DeWalt and colleagues in 2004 looked at interventions that examined an

independent relationship between reading ability and metabolic outcomes.

One study in part sought to describe the changes in glycemic control among the adult

U.S. population diagnosed with T2DM betweenl999 and 2000. Their data supported the

key public health message of early and aggressive management of diabetes (Koro,

Bowlin, Bourgeois and Fedder, 2004). Further, Koro and colleagues (2004) also

illustrated that treatment regimens of diet and exercise, plus proper self-administration

of insulin, or oral hypoglycemic agents have been shown to improve glycemia, but more

disease management that includes greater patient self-participation is needed and









recommended. In past studies glycemic control rates were calculated as the proportion

of individuals with T2DM with an HbA1C level of less than 7% (Koro et al., 2004). Other

studies also calculated glycemic control as the proportion of HbA1C less than 7%.

(Koro, Bowlin, Bourgeois, and Fedder, 2004; Rothman et al., 2005). For this study,

glycemic control is the typical levels of blood sugar, more specifically glucose, in an

individual with diabetes, between than or less than 70 and 120 mg/dL [3.89-6.67] of

their glucose level.

In 2003, a qualitative study of problem-solving and diabetes control in T2DM self-

management was conducted with 186 low income African-Americans to explore and

compare diabetes-related problem-solving in this urban population in good and poor

diabetes control (Hill-Briggs, Cooper, Loman, Brancati and Cooper, 2003). Two focus

groups were studied, one with participants with good control and the other with

participants with poor control. HbA1C value was measured within last three months.

Primary types of problems with diabetes self-management were similar in the good

control and poor control groups (Hill-Briggs et al., 2003). Further, predominant problem-

solving themes in the good control group reflected a positive orientation toward diabetes

self-management and problem-solving, a rational problem-solving process, and a

positive transfer of experience. However, those in the poor control group revealed a

negative orientation, careless and avoidant problem-solving processes, and a negative

transfer of past learning to new situations (Hill-Briggs et al., 2003). However, improved

knowledge alone does not correlate with improved glycemic control, and evidence show

that providing more information is not enough to motivate patients (Heisler, Piette,









Spencer, Kieffer, Vijan, 2005). Rather, this study measured knowledge for particular

self care in a less studied population.

In sum, although research has shown that various factors impact people with

diabetes, such as self-efficacy, stress management, goal setting, and decision-making,

improve metabolic control, it is not known if these factors are similarly effective in low

literacy populations with diabetes (Nath, 2007).

Knowledge for Diabetes Self-care

Both limited literacy and health literacy are prevalent among patients with

diabetes, and are associated with poorer knowledge of the illness and its complications,

worse glycemic control, and higher rates of retinopathy (Powell et al., 2007). In addition,

past research showed that comprehensive diabetes disease management programs,

with educational strategies appropriate for low literate patients, were of greater benefit

to patients with low literacy than those with higher literacy (Rothman, Malone, Brayant,

Horlen, DeWalt, Pignone, 2004).

Since one of the primary goals for diabetes management is effective self-care of

T2DM, thus individuals must have and apply knowledge about their condition,

specifically regarding its various symptoms and how to treat it (Rothman et al., 2005). In

addition, the knowledge an individual assimilates is critical to assess the impact of

diabetes education and interventions, as well as recognize diabetes education's

intermediary role to improve patient outcomes. Further, despite diabetes education,

various studies indicate that knowledge deficits are evident in low literate diabetics.

Knowledge gaps exist for individuals regarding diabetes self-management care, and it is

important to identify how these gaps impact individuals' diabetes self-management

practices. Although knowledge alone does not motivate action, particularly for self care









activities, this will be used as a measure to assess if this holds true for our less studied

population and the identified assessment will be further explored in the qualitative

component of the study. The qualitative component will help to explore patient's values,

motivations, and goals that have been shown to be more effective in addressing barriers

to improving self care activities (Heisler et al., 2005).

Self-Management Activities

Clark and colleagues (1991) indicated that, although self-management tasks are

specific to an illness, for example measuring blood glucose for diabetes, there are also

core self-management tasks that are common to all illness categories. These include

physical activity, smoking cessation, maintaining diet, recognizing and responding to

symptoms, and using medications, to list a few.

The summary of the diabetes self-care activities (SDSCA) measure has been

administered as a self-completion questionnaire, and is one of the most widely used

self-reporting instruments for measuring diabetes self-management in adults (Toobert,

Hampson, Glasgow, 2000). The key activities included in this measure are diet,

exercise, blood sugar testing, foot care, and smoking.

Measures in Diabetes

Various scales are available to measure diabetes-related issues. These include,

but are not limited to, the Diabetes Health Belief Model scale (DHBM), Diabetes

Knowledge Test (DKT), Diabetes Risk Improvement Scale, and the Diabetes Self-

Management Tool (D-SMART), the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literacy Diabetes scale

(SKILLD), and the Summary of Diabetes Activities measure, to name a few. The DKT is

a 14-item general multiple choice test, and a 9-item insulin use subscale is used to

assess patients' diabetes-related knowledge. The DHBM scale is an 11-question health









beliefs questionnaire that operationalizes the health belief model for individuals with

diabetes (Powell et al., 2007).

The Diabetes Risk Improvement Scale allows either the patient to fill out the scale

and score it or scores are entered into a provider database to help identify patients in

need of care by the practitioner. D-SMART is a patient self-report instrument that

captures the assessment information on diabetes health status, knowledge, skill,

confidence, barriers, and current self-management behaviors. For the purpose of this

study, the SKILLD will be used to assess African-American women's knowledge about

their diabetes self-care issues.

The SKILLD is a 10-item oral questionnaire that measures diabetes knowledge

about self-care issues (Rothman et al., 2005). This scale was a recently validated scale,

developed to combat some of the concerns with past scales that used multiple-choice

questions, and will be used to measure diabetes knowledge specifically as it relates to

self-care issues. In the past, close-ended questions that were typically multiple choice

made it particularly difficult for those with low literacy to navigate through the responses.

The diabetes activities measure is a multidimential measure of diabetes self-

management with internal and test-retest reliability and evidence of validity and

sensitivity to change, revised in the last few years; it consists of a core set of 11 items

(Toobert, Hampson, and Glasgow, 2000). An extended version of the scale also exists

but for the purpose of the study, the core items will be used. The scale also consists of

five areas around which questions are organized and include diet, exercise, blood sugar

testing, foot care, and smoking.









Diabetes Education

Diabetes education contributes to how different behaviors and choices affect

health outcomes-both for better and worse-and can help address incorrect

assumptions and learning (CDC, 2005). Importantly, health education helps impart

knowledge about strategies that improve a patient's ability to identify effective diabetes

care action plans, as well as adopt self-management behaviors. Prolonged planning

and routine monitoring, prevention, coordination of care, education, and self-

management are constantly needed for those with chronic illnesses. However, far too

often, prevention and health promotion is shortchanged despite the fact that chronic

diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, are among the most

prevalent and costly, yet are the most preventable of all health problems (CDC, 2005).

In a review of the diabetes education literature, a comparison of findings reported

prior to the 1990s, to findings since 1990, recent changes and patterns in diabetes self-

management education exist, such that trends in interventions involving diabetes self-

management education have evolved from education only, to include behavioral models

and with more attention to interventions for specific minority populations (Brown, 1999).

This is a positive step in the right direction, but the increasing rates of diabetes

morbidity and mortality and the disease burden of this chronic illness, particularly for low

income, low literate African-American populations, suggest that education is needed

that actually helps translate knowledge into self-management skill practices.

In 2007, the American Association of Diabetes Educators took steps to outline

what diabetes educators must do by officially defining diabetes education, also known

as diabetes self-management training (DSMT), as a process that requires collaboration

through which people with or at risk for diabetes, gain knowledge and skills needed to









modify behavior and effectively manage the disease and its related conditions (Funnel

et al., 2007). The step aims to achieve optimal health status, better quality of life, and a

reduction in the need for costly health care. Further, diabetes education has seven self-

care behaviors that are deemed essential for improved health status and quality of life

and they include healthy eating, being active, monitoring, taking medication, problem

solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks. This is an encouraging step for diabetes

educators who seek to educate and empower those with diabetes. However, factors

that contribute to the gap between actual delivery of these skills taught and their

implementation need to be further explored, identified, and improved (Funnel et al.,

2007). The current study documented some of this target populations experiences with

their diabetes, their self-management practices and the gaps as perceived by these

participants in adapting the self-care education from the healthcare system into practical

use in their homes.

Past studies have also identified the importance of improving patient-provider

communication as a key strategy for advancing patient involvement in setting a patient's

own goals. For example, (Nath, 2007) identified some of these techniques to improve

communication between providers and patients who had inadequate literacy. These

techniques included more frequent use of oral and visual instructions; limiting

instructions to essential information only; making instructions interactive with patients to

demonstrate their understanding of the topic; and encouraging the assistance of

surrogate readers. The "teachback" strategy is an interactive educational strategy in

which patients paraphrase their understanding of information (Nath, 2007).









Summary

An improved paradigm for high quality chronic illness care is urgently needed and

this care should seek to promote increased understanding of patients' lives and

preferences. Regardless of cultural background, race, or level of education, the effects

of inadequate diabetes knowledge and self-care activities are detrimental to the

individual and society. It is vital that researchers continue to assess knowledge and self-

care activities for diabetes particularly because, if diabetes is managed effectively, you

get positive outcomes. This literature review not only defined chronic illnesses but also

looked at how chronic illnesses are placed within the health care system and the

people's role in their care. The literature review also highlighted the increasing health

care costs associated with chronic illnesses, the role of culture and health literacy in

diabetes self-care. A brief focus on the vulnerable population of interest and their role in

diabetes self-management was also highlighted. Common factors associated with

diabetes that will be used to make associations in the current study were also explored.

The various scales used to measure aspects of diabetes self-care were also covered,

focusing ultimately on the scales that were appropriate for this current study.

Increasing healthcare costs, medical advances, obesity, and age however, all

impact diabetes, especially for minority women, and increased self-care skills and

practices are needed by this population. In addition, the healthcare system has been

deemed to lack patient-centered care, and the literature reports that patients need to be

given more of a voice in research efforts and education targeted to improve their care

and self-care.

In addition, only limited research addresses the unique needs of sicker patients

from their perspective, and in many ways the health system does not appear patient-









centered or coordinated. Consequently, it is also imperative that investigators explore

the meanings assigned to chronic illnesses and how they impact various self-care

behaviors. These study data will provide direction for diabetes health educators and

researchers to better target the needs of vulnerable populations.


Table 2-1. List of variables for Quantitative study
Variable
Explanatory
Background and Personal Factors
Socioeconomic status
Literacy level (level of
Education)
Illness-Related Factors
Length of time with disease
(diabetes)
Glycemic control
Outcome
Outcome of the Illness
Knowledge for diabetes self-
Care
Diabetes self-care activities
(includes: general diet,
specific diet, exercise, blood
sugar testing, foot care and
smoking)









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self-care

activities and explore the experiences of African-American women with type 2 diabetes

mellitus (T2DM). This study used a correlational embedded mixed methods design and

provided applications to different parts of a modified model for understanding the crisis

of a physical illness. Specifically, the study was designed to (1) assess knowledge

about diabetes in African-American women; (2) explore the associations between

African-American women's knowledge for diabetes and (a) income and year of

education, (b) length of time with diabetes, (c) glycemic control, and (d) self-care

activities; and (3) explore experiences of African-American women in managing their

diabetes, as well as their understanding of diabetes.

This chapter describes the methodology used to conduct this study. Each of the

following areas will be presented and discussed: (1) theoretical perspective; (2)

research design, (3) research methods, which include (a) settings and participants, (b)

instrumentation, (c) scientific integrity, (d) data collection and recruitment plan, (4) data

analysis, (5) limitations, and (6) summary.

Theoretical Perspective

Model for Understanding the Diabetic Illness-Quantitative Study

Caplan's 1964 crisis theory, one of the first, was inspired by Erikson's (1963)

formulation of "developmental crises" at transition points in the life cycle. Caplin's theory

dealt with the impact of disruptions on established patterns of personal and social

identity (Moos, 1982). Since a person cannot remain in an extreme state of

disequilibrium, within a period of time, some resolution, no matter how temporary, must









be found and equilibrium reestablished. The crisis experience evokes a new balance

achieved, or a transitional period or turning point that may be a healthy adaptation with

personal growth and maturation or a maladaptive response with psychological

deterioration or decline that impacts an individual's long-term ability to meet future

crises (Moos, 1982).

The theoretical perspective that guides this study is the model developed by

Rudolph Moos and Vivian Tsu in 1977 to understand the crisis of a physical illness. This

crisis theory has provided a conceptual framework for preventive mental health care

and for dealing with severe physical illness or injury, where the crisis of a physical

illness is an unusually potent stressor that may extend over a long period of time and

lead to permanent changes among patients and their families (Moos, 1982). In addition

to diabetes, the model has been used in the past for studies on impairment, disability,

slow recovery from illness, chronic pain, Alzheimer's disease support groups,

bereavement, and crisis intervention for children and families. In 1996, the model was

used to explore the quality of life, life experiences, and characteristics relevant to quality

of life of Thai women living with diabetes (Puavilai, 1996). This study would be the first

to apply the Moos model for low-income African-American women within a specified age

range living in North Central Florida. The model (Fig. 1-1) helps to frame the present

study, which identifies the diabetes illness experience, especially in the time just after

diagnosis, as a crisis.

The Moos-Tsu (1977) model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness is

considered appropriate for this study for several reasons: 1) it identifies factors relating

to the illness experience: a) background and personal factors (precursors), b) illness-









related factors, c) and the physical and social environment of the individual during the

lifetime of the stressful chronic illness, then d) links them to the outcomes illustrated in

the literature; 2) it illustrates that, from this crisis, an individual's cognitive appraisal of a

disease's significance puts in motion basic skills and experiences, including adaptive

tasks that result in the application of various coping skills; and 3) it identifies the

successful resolution of the crisis, which in this case is diabetes knowledge about self-

care and diabetes activities for self-care. Their model was also particularly useful to this

study because it appropriately explained variables used in this study as they are

associated with outcomes in the literature, and that were anticipated for this study as

well. In addition, their model was relevant to this study in that it can be focused on the

individual living with her diabetes, a chronic lifetime illness perceived as a crisis, and the

diabetes knowledge outcomes that may or may not be present in this population.

In the Moos-Tsu model, serious physical illness or injury is understood as a life

crisis. The life crisis of a major, chronic physical illness upsets the equilibrium of people,

here women with diabetes, precipitating a crisis and need for adaptation to restore

equilibrium. Further, the severity of a crisis stems from an unexpected diagnosis and the

pervasive threat to the essence of an individual's life and adaptation, typically existing

for a lengthy time, affecting permanent changes in the individual and family life (Moos,

1982; Puavilai, 1996). The current study applied and augmented factors included in

their model. In the case of this study, it was assumed that diabetes is a chronic physical

condition that causes crises in the lives of the African-American women in our study.

The term crisis may seem overly dramatic, but was used because the increasing rates

of diabetes in this population point to ignorance about the causes of the disease,









inadequate or too infrequent instruction and follow up on diabetic self-care, and

resistance by many individuals to adaptation to diabetes resulting in maladaptive

responses and further crises. Also the changing nature of an individual's diabetes over

time can result in repeated disequilibrium or disorganization in diabetics' lives (Puavilai,

1996). These crisis periods may be transient, but occur throughout the rest of the life

cycle of women with diabetes, their severity often depending on the quality of their self-

care.

For the purpose of this study the conceptual model for understanding the crisis of

physical illness was modified as in the Puavilai study in 1996 and categorized into three

components. The categories were viewed slightly different from the previous study

when it was applied to Thai women with diabetes (Pauvilai, 1996). The components

are: (1) precursors, (2) skills and experiences, and (3) outcomes of the crisis. See

Figure 3-1 for the modified version of the Moos model. Precursors are the first

component of the model and will include three factors: background and personal

factors, illness-related factors, and physical and social environmental factors. All these

factors impact skills and experiences that ultimately influence the negative or positive

outcomes of the crisis. The first component was the focus of the primary quantitative

study as it relates to outcomes. This model was valuable to the study because it

focused on a diabetic woman's illness experience of living with a lifetime chronic

condition. Through the components of the model, women with diabetes learn how to

live with their chronic condition and the outcome is either positive or negative depending

on their ability and willingness to engage in good self-care.









Precursors-Background and personal characteristics

This included age, gender, socioeconomic status, intelligence, cognitive and

emotional development, ego strength and self-esteem, philosophical or religious beliefs,

and previous illnesses and coping experiences. Only age, gender, and socioeconomic

status were obtained from the self-report survey by the participant. Ego strength and

self-esteem were not identified in either the qualitative or quantitative data sets, but

philosophical or religious beliefs, and previous illnesses and coping experiences were

considered when analyzing the findings for the qualitative study. These factors

determine the meaning that the illness carries for an individual and affect the

psychological and the intellectual resources available to meet the crisis (Moos & Tsu,

1977; Moos, 1982). In this study, the proxy for intelligence, outlined in the original

model, was level of education attained. According to the original model, another

important aspect of the background and personal characteristics was timing of an illness

in the life cycle, as individuals who were diagnosed with the disease later in life may

have more maturity and draw from experiences to cope with the illness that threatens

life goals and established roles (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982). This was considered

under the following section illness-related factors, when describing the relationship of

variables for this study and duration of disease was used to capture the length of time

with diabetes.

Precursors-Illness-related factors

According to the model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness, these

include the type and location of symptoms, a key component in defining the exact

nature of the tasks the individuals faced and their adaptive responses. Different organs

and functions may have a psychological significance not pertaining to the biological









factors related to survival (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982). For example, loss of vision

in an eye from diabetes may have more psychological significance than a severe

diabetes hyperglycemic crisis that if left untreated may directly threaten life. For the

purpose of this study, a modification was made regarding time since diagnosed with

diabetes, which was placed in this section referred to in this study as length of time with

diabetes.

Precursors-Physical and social environmental factors

These factors specifically affect the adaptive tasks patient's family's face and the

choice and outcome of the coping skills used including the aesthetics of the

surroundings, the amount of personal space available, and the degree of sensory

stimulation which may influence a person's cognitive functioning, mood, and general

morale; the social or human environment consisting of the relationships of patients and

their family, features of the work settings, social supports in the wider community and

sociocultural norms and expectations (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982). For the

purpose of this study, a modification was made to this section and referred in this study

as social support, primarily collected from the qualitative component of the study.

Skills and experience

The second component of the model was the women's skills and experience and

includes appraisal and activation, major adaptive tasks, and major types of coping skills.

The skills and experience section of the model was best illustrated from the qualitative

study and addressed in the findings section. The factors that comprise the skills and

experiences component: appraisal and activation, major adaptive tasks, and major

types of coping skills are explained below.









Skills and experience-cognitive appraisal. This was defined as the way in which

the potential stressor was perceived, and may or may not be a mediating factor.

Activation or arousal occurred when the environment was appraised as necessitating a

response, which fosters efforts to adapt and cope. The nature of these tasks was

affected by the meaning of the illness, by personal factors, and by the selection of

relevant coping skills that were influenced by environmental factors. The result of

adaptation and coping may affect the outcome of the crisis. From this crisis, an

individual's cognitive appraisal of its significance puts in motion basic adaptive tasks

that result in the application of various coping skills (Moos, 1982).

Skills and experience-adaptive tasks. The adaptive tasks included two key

categories, illness-related tasks and general tasks. The illness-related tasks included

dealing with symptoms, environment and treatment procedures, and relationship

maintenance with healthcare staff. General tasks included being able to preserve (a)

reasonable emotional balance, (b) satisfactory self-image, and sense of competence

and mastery, (c) relationships with family and friends, and (d) preparation for an

uncertain future (Moos, 1982).

Skills and experience-coping skills. These consisted of mental and behavioral

components of an individual, viewed as positive and teachable, which may be used

individually, consecutively, or in various combinations. The coping skills are seven

adaptive tasks typically used: (a) denying or minimizing the seriousness of the crisis; (b)

seeking information about the illness, treatment procedures, and probable outcomes; (c)

learning specific illness-related procedures, such as giving self insulin injections or

running a home dialysis machine; (d) maintaining a regular routine and setting concrete









limited goals; (e) managing self-presentation and ability to request needed reassurance

and support; (f) preparing self mentally and rehearsing potential alternative outcomes;

and (g) finding a general purpose or pattern of meaning in the course of events. This

component of the model was also applied based on the qualitative data obtained. The

skills and experiences were important for the ultimate phase, the outcome (Moos,

1982). Combined, the two components, precursors, then skills and experiences,

determine the outcome of the crisis (Moos & Tsu, 1977).

Outcome

The third component of the model is the outcome of the illness, and represents

either a healthy adaptation that promotes personal growth and maturation or a

maladaptive response which signifies psychological deterioration and decline (Moos,

1982). For this study, both knowledge about self-care as well as performing diabetes

self care activities determined the outcome of the illness for the individual.

In sum, the adapted model for understanding a physical illness was reworked.

The first section was grouped under the general heading of precursors which include

background and personal characteristics, illness related factors and physical and social

environmental factors which collectively influence one another and affect the self-care

skills and experiences of a person which subsequently impacts their self-care

knowledge and self-care activities.

Explanatory Model

The explanatory model was used to construct the interview guide for the

qualitative portion of the study. Using this model was important because explanatory

models incorporate factors about an episode of sickness and its treatment employed by

all those engaged in the clinical process (Kleinman, 1980). Explanatory models also









explain sickness and treatment that guides choices among available therapies and

therapists and gives personal and social meaning to the experience of sickness.

Kleinman distinguished explanatory models from general beliefs about sickness and

health care, in that general beliefs belong to the health ideology of the different

healthcare sectors and exist independent of and prior to a given episode of illness. An

individual's explanatory model, in addition to drawing on these belief systems, are

marshaled in response to particular illness episode (Kleinman, 1980).

Individual explanatory models were anchored in a different explanatory system

and social structural arrangement comprising the separate sections of a local healthcare

system (Kleinman, 1980). This explanatory model therefore was invaluable for

constructing the semi-structured interview guide to obtain the perceptions and

experiences of the participants for the qualitative arm of the study.

Research Design

To address the research questions, this study used a primary data source, a

community sample from a North Central Florida community. The design that

represented the best option to answer the research questions in this study was an

embedded mixed method design (Creswell & Clark, 2007). This design had both a

quantitative and a qualitative component. The qualitative data played a supportive role

to the quantitative data and was collected during the same time frame.

The chosen design was appropriate for this study because it allowed different sets

of research questions to be answered without necessarily merging the data sets. Using

this design, applications to different parts of the model of understanding the crisis of a

physical illness were also possible, identifying perceived factors that impeded









knowledge that could promote behavior change may help better target healthcare

needs.

The quantitative data was used to answer the following research questions in the

correlational design:

1) What knowledge level do African-American women with diabetes have about their
diabetes?

2) Was African-American women's knowledge level about their diabetes self-care
associated with income, years of education, length of time with diabetes, and
glycemic control?

Null Hypotheses H01. Respondent's knowledge scores had no associations to a)

income, b) years of education, c) length of time with diabetes, and d) glycemic control.

3) What were the associations between African-American women's level of
knowledge for diabetes self-care and their self-care activities?

Null Hypothesis H02. There were no associations between respondent's level of

knowledge for diabetes self-care and their self-care activities.

The qualitative data, embedded within the correlational design, answered

another set of research questions:

4) What were African-American women's experiences with managing their diabetes?
What adaptive tasks and coping skills did they use?

5) How did African-American women perceive their diabetes? What was their
perceived meaning of diabetes?

The reason for collecting this qualitative data was to provide support for the

primary data and delve into various perceptions, skills, and experiences that impact the

diabetes knowledge or knowledge gap of the participants. In the quantitative study, the

assessments themselves would not adequately capture the necessary information to

answer the research questions.









This design was used to illustrate the modified version of the crisis of a physical

illness. Moreover the mixed methods study most appropriately allowed for the

assessment of diabetes knowledge and self-care activities through the quantitative

study and self-care practices and the diabetes illness experience for this group of

women through the qualitative study. Quantitative and qualitative studies though

consist of similar elements, in that they have a purpose, pose a problem, define a

research population, collect and analyze data, and present outcomes, they are different

individually, and as research methods they have inherent value as well as deficiencies.

Quantitative research is concerned with the measurement of outcomes using numerical

data under controlled, organized, and standardized conditions using formal instruments

(Portney & Watkins, 2000). However, certain things are not particularly easy to

measure. Hence, qualitative studies rely on inductive reasoning, help interpret and

structure the meanings derived from data, distinct from the quantitative deductive

inquiry processes. Thorne (2000) summarized this distinction by stating that inductive

reasoning uses the data to generate ideas (hypothesis generating), whereas deductive

reasoning starts with an idea then uses the data to confirm or negate the idea

(hypothesis testing). In addition, qualitative approaches are essential for pinpointing key

issues and concepts related to people's thoughts and actions (Skelly et al, 2000).

Therefore qualitative data has value because of its ability to reveal complexity not

obtained from quantitative surveys (Elliot et al., 2007).

Mixed methods research involved the mixture of qualitative and quantitative

approaches in collecting, analyzing, and mixing data in a single study or series of

studies (Creswell, 2003). As a research methodology, mixed methods is relatively new,









but has gained increasing popularity over the past 25 years. This momentum has

occurred, in part, because of the weaknesses that limit each methodology. Mixed

methodology addresses, but does not resolve, some concerns specific to the two

competing paradigms.

Quantitative research falls short in understanding the context or setting in which

people live, and the voices of participants are not directly heard. Qualitative research

was thought to make up for this weakness. Qualitative research does not focus on

things inherent to the quantitative research process, such as charts, figures, tables,

percentages, measures of association, or tests of statistical significance. Rather, the

objectives of qualitative research are to discern themes, understand texture,

provide context, and allow for in-depth attention to detail, context, and nuance (Patton,

2002) that may ultimately help inform quantitative analyses. An assumption of

qualitative research was that reality is socially constructed, thus variables are complex,

interwoven, and difficult to measure. In addition, qualitative research is more concerned

with subjective, narrative information based on open-ended questions in interviews in an

effort to capture the context of the data to better understand individual's experiences

(Portney & Watkins, 2000). This method also facilitated looking at a broad range of

experiences for a smaller number of people.

Over the years this mixed methodology has gained increasing recognition,

especially because all the tools of data collection are used, rather than being restricted

to the weaknesses of data collection typically associated with either the quantitative and

qualitative methodology (Creswell, 2003). Combining both approaches provides a better

understanding of research problems than either approach can alone. Using mixed









methodology was also practical for this study, because individuals tend to solve

problems by combining inductive and deductive thinking and employing skills in

observing people as well as recording behavior (Creswell & Clark, 2007). It was natural

then to employ mixed methods research as the preferred way to address the research

problem.

The qualitative arm of the study proved invaluable in that the study participants

presented their experiences and perceptions living with diabetes, and their views are

legitimate representations of their own experiences. For this study, the qualitative data

was embedded in the larger quantitative data set and collected concurrently. Though it

can be a challenge to differentiate between a study using an embedded design and one

using another mixed design, the embedded design is different in that it employs one

data type in a supplemental role to another. For this study the qualitative data played

this role. This design can use either a one-phase or two-phase approach for the

embedded data. A one-phase approach was used for this study because it was the

most feasible modality to recruit the required sample. Therefore, the qualitative results

had great value when considered within the quantitative study design (Creswell, 2003).

Methods

This section describes the instrumentation, the participants, the strategies that

were used to recruit participants for data collection, and the methods that were used for

the analysis. This mixed methods study employed an embedded strategy, using a

quantitative correlational design then a qualitative descriptive design. This design

allowed the investigator to assess diabetes knowledge through the quantitative study,

then identified the self-care practices and the diabetes illness experience for this group

of women through a qualitative study.









In the embedded correlational design, researchers collect qualitative data as part

of their correlational study to help explain how the mechanisms work in the correlational

model (Creswell & Clark, 2007). For example, within the larger embedded correlational

design, the qualitative interviews about perceptions, beliefs, and experiences of

individuals' self-care practices were embedded within the diabetes knowledge level

assessment for low literate African-American women with diabetes. The embedded

study helped explain possible associations or identified various moderating factors.

Challenges existed using the embedded design. To address these challenges, the

study's purposes were clearly outlined, each with its own goal, to ensure that

distinctions were made to avoid confusion. According to Creswell (2003), distinct from

the triangulation design that seeks to merge two different data sets, the quantitative and

qualitative data sets, to answer the same question, so it was possible to bring the data

sets together in the concurrent approach and interpret them in the form of a discussion

for the analysis (Creswell & Clark, 2007).

Setting and Participants

The population of interest for this study were adult African-American women with

T2DM who lived in Alachua County and the surrounding areas, between the ages of 40

to 64 who had had less than four years of college. The study protocol was submitted to

the UFIRB for approval and approval was obtained.

Sample

The goal for this study was to recruit a purposive sample, but due to difficulties

with recruitment initiatives, a convenience sample was used. The inclusion criteria for

this study were participants who were (a) non-pregnant African-American women; (b)

aged between 40 and 64 years; (c) self-reported that they had had a clinical diagnosis









of T2DM; (d) had had diabetes for at least 1 year prior to entering the study; (e) had no

mental health co-morbidities that incapacitated them from communicating logically with

the interviewer; (f) were low income, on Medicaid, poor, uninsured, or underinsured; and

(g) self-reported as having less than four years of college. Further, participants were

excluded from the study if they had type diabetes, were pregnant, reported having as

anything other than African-American ancestry, and were too disabled or mentally ill that

they could not appropriately respond in an oral interview. Diabetics who had had

diabetes for less than one year were also excluded from the study because those

individuals had limited experience in taking care of their diabetes. The age range for this

study focused on participants eligible for Medicaid, because older individuals would be

put in another care category and eligible for Medicare. Study participants who met the

inclusion criteria were recruited from various UFIRB approved sites, including the

University of Florida and other clinics, churches, low-income community residencies,

hair dressing salons, and service facilities in Alachua County and surrounding areas

and invited to participate in the study.

For the quantitative arm of the study, a power analysis using G*-Power was

performed based on the effect size found from this study, statistical procedures used in

the study, type I error, and number of the sample. The effect size is the strength of the

relationship between variables in this study, while the power of a statistical test depends

on alpha level or type 1 error rate, effect, and sample size. In addition, for the

qualitative study, another goal of the research was to identify from the participants

surveyed for the larger quantitative study, a subset of individuals to participate in a face-

to-face 35 to 60 minute oral in-depth semi-structured qualitative interview. In past









qualitative studies with a similar population's (Rayman and Ellyson, 2004), obtaining an

adequate sample size was determined once saturation was achieved and for this study

participants were also recruited until saturation was achieved. Individuals for the

qualitative interviews were also recruited based on convenience, since some individuals

who met the initial goal of the study (to draw the higher and lower scoring individuals on

the quantitative assessment knowledge for diabetes scale) did not want to participate,

or did not provide follow up contact information. In sum, snowball sampling was used to

obtain additional participants. Interviews took place at a location convenient to the

participant.

All participants in this sample signed an informed consent approved by the

University of Florida Internal Revenue Board. The informed consent was done prior to

using any of the instruments. Each participant was given a copy of her signed informed

consent for future reference.

Instrumentation

A variety of data collection methods were used for the mixed methods design, a

quantitative survey as well as a semi-structured interview guide, and the investigator

developed these protocols using specific, detailed, and systematic methods. Four

instruments were used in this study. The demographic information questionnaire was

used to collect biographic information (Appendix A); the Spoken Knowledge in Low

Literacy Diabetes Scale (SKILLD) was used to measure diabetes knowledge (Appendix

B); the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities (SDSCA) was used to determine

current self-care activities or behaviors (Appendix C); and the interview guide (Appendix

D) was used to explore life experiences, knowledge, and understanding of diabetes and

how women with diabetes manage their chronic illness.









Validity concerns pertain to the extent to which an instrument measures what it is

supposed to measure (Portney & Watkins, 2000). This is done to ensure adequate

inferences from scores on the instruments used in the study. The validity was

addressed below in the section appropriate to each instrument specified.

Demographic information Questionnaire

Demographic information was obtained from the participants using a questionnaire

administered before the interview began, primarily to obtain sample characteristics and

gain a broader picture of the participants. This questionnaire consisted of 12 questions

based on study purpose and literature review and included information about the

participants self-reported diagnosis of diabetes, last blood sugar reading at home,

length of time with T2DM, annual personal income, annual household income,

residency status, race, age, and mental illness status. The questionnaire was

administered orally by the interviewer because all the other instruments were given

orally to accommodate those whose reading skills might have been minimal.

Spoken knowledge in low literacy diabetes scale (SKILLD)-quantitative study

For the quantitative study, the SKILLD scale document (Rothman et al., 2005) was

used to collect the data. This scale assessed knowledge about diabetes and self-care

activities and consisted of ten questions. Further, the participant's knowledge of

diabetes was correlated with education level achieved, both personal and household

incomes, length of time with diabetes, glycemic control, and self-care activities. When

measuring diabetes knowledge in vulnerable patients with possible low literacy, the

SKILLD instrument is brief, well validated, easy to use, and well accepted by patients

(Rothman, et al., 2005).The reliability and internal consistency of the scale was

examined using the Kuder-Richardson coefficient of reliability, which is a variant of









Chronbach's coefficient for items that are dichotomous. The coefficient of internal

reliability for all the items was 0.72, which suggested adequate reliability. A principal

factors analysis and principal components analysis to confirm scale validity and

examine possible scale reduction analysis were done. The factors retained for the

analysis were done using a scree test and Virimax and Promax rotation. Questions

were kept if they had consistently high loadings with rotation (>0.3 or <0.3). Factor

analysis was also forced on specified factors to examine question loading. In the factor

analysis, a single factor dominated (eigenvalue 2.95) in principal components factor

analysis, with question three and seven having high loadings to the factor (Rothman, et

al., 2005).

Scoring SKILLED

The SKILLD survey was scored by assigning 10 points to each of the 10 questions

for a potential total of 100 according to the specifications in Rothman and colleagues

2005 study. The scores were summed and a variable created for total score. This total

score was then used to do the appropriate analyses to answer the research questions.

Summary of diabetes self-care activities measure-quantitative study

The summary of diabetes self-care activities measure (SDSCA) was used to

measure diabetes self-management in adults. The SDSCA measurement is an eleven

item questionnaire that includes sections pertaining to specific activities, diet, exercise,

blood sugar testing, foot care, and smoking. This questionnaire is one of the most

widely used self-report instruments for measuring diabetes self-management in adults

and is promoted in the literature to be used with other samples and is in the public

domain. In addition, the strength of the scale was its brevity and ease of scoring

(Toobert et al., 2000).The quantitative study also obtained the knowledge level about









diabetes to make associations with the diabetes self-care activities measure. The

SDSCA has been administered as a self-completed questionnaire in paper and pencil

form, touch screen computer, and over the internet (Toobert, et.al, 2000). For this

study, the SDSCA was given orally to compensate for the target population's self-

reported years of school, which was usually low. It is also a brief, yet reliable and valid,

self-report measurement of diabetes self-management (Toobert et.al, 2000).

Scoring SDSCA

The SDSCA scale was scored by averaging the scores for the individual sections

pertaining to general diet, specific diet, exercise, blood sugar testing, and foot care.

The number of cigarettes smoked per day was summed to determine the smoking

score. The scores for each section were determined and associated with the total

knowledge score obtained from the SKILLD score. Only one question was reverse

coded and that related to specific diet.

Interview guide-qualitative study

In the qualitative study, a semi-structured interview guide that consisted of seven

questions with various probes was used to collect data. It was developed using past

interview guides presented in the literature, specifically, the Kleinman (1980)

explanatory model's eight standard questions. Kleinman's questions are very useful to

obtain participants' explanatory models of their illness experience. However, in practice,

laymen often either do not volunteer an explanatory model to health professionals or,

when they do, it is a short, single-phrase explanation. This may be because individuals

are embarrassed about revealing their beliefs in formal healthcare settings, and fear

being ridiculed, criticized, or intimidated because their beliefs appear mistaken from a

professional medical viewpoint. Accordingly, Kleinman indicated individual's explanatory









models are more easily elicited in homes by a researcher not involved in the delivery of

medical care to the patient, and who expresses a genuine, non-judgmental interest in

the patient's perspective. Consequently, this research was conducted in a convenient

location for the participant, for example, the patient's home or a safe, comfortable place

(Kleinman, 1980).

In sum, the study had various components that were given orally: 1) informed

consent (then signed); 2) demographic information questionnaire; 3) SKILLD and

SDSCA; and 4) face-face semi-structured individual interviews. Only the individuals

asked to participate in the individual, semi-structured interview, also signed the audio

portion of the consent form.

Scientific Integrity

The research was also meticulously documented so as to allow other researchers

to replicate the process. Qualitative assessment of validity was distinct from the

determination of quantitative validity. For qualitative validity, the focus was on

identifying a degree of congruence between explanations and the realities of the world,

the consistency with using the interview guide, as well as the content validity of the

interview guide. Further, reliability in qualitative studies meant the degree of consistency

with which an instrument or rater measures a variable (Portney & Watkins, 2000).

Consistency in the use of the interview guide was achieved by using the same

interviewer for each interview. Using other data from previous studies to confirm results

were used to enhance the reliability of the research. Although Patton (2002) indicates

that no formula exists for transforming data obtained from qualitative analysis (p. 432),

the results were analyzed using thematic analysis. This study employed a number of

techniques promoted by McMillan & Schumacher (2006) to ensure that the researcher









captured the meanings of what was being said by using voice recorders to tape the

interviews and transcribe them verbatim, using an expert panel to guide the analysis

process, ensuring consistency between interviews by using the same researcher, as

well as looking for negative or discrepant data that will modify patterns found in the

data.

Reliability in quantitative studies means the extent to which a measurement was

consistent and free from error, and was conceptualized for reproducibility or

dependability (Portney & Watkins, 2000). In the case of this correlational study, the

reliability correlation was important because reliability reflects the degree of association

between two sets of data, or the consistency of position within the two distributions. The

statistic most often used for internal consistency is Chronbach's coefficient alpha

(Portney & Watkins, 2000).

Protection of Human Subjects

Prior to undertaking this study, the study protocol was approved by the UFIRB.

Informed consent was obtained from each participant in the study. In a designated

interview area, agreed upon by the participant, an informed consent was administered

orally and signed before the various components of the study were conducted. A

thorough explanation and description of the study purpose, method, potential risks and

benefits for participation in the study, and the protection of confidentiality were told to

eligible participants in this study as part of the informed consent process. Those

individuals who could read were also given the informed consent orally and were asked

to review the form on their own to corroborate what the principal investigator explained.

If the individual could not read, then they were asked to repeat the information that they









understood back to the principal investigator before they were allowed to sign the

informed consent to ensure that they understood the study.

Additionally, approval from all other required parties was obtained. Women were

given the opportunity to ask questions, and decline, or accept participation in the study.

All data were made anonymous by assigning codes to the data. No identifying

information was included in the data report and all recordings were stored in an

encrypted file and will be destroyed according to the stipulations by the UFIRB. The

phone number and address of the investigator and the chair of the dissertation

committee were given to participants so they could address questions or concerns

related to the study. The phone number for the UFIRB was also included.

The participants in this research did not suffer any health risk because of

participation in this study. Informants were told of their freedom to answer or not answer

questions, and that the interview could be stopped at any time without penalty. Since

the study was focused on a vulnerable population with the chronic illness of diabetes,

every effort was made to keep these individuals anonymous. Hence measures were

taken to exclude all names and locations from the data to ensure confidentiality and

anonymity. There were no direct benefits for the participants; however, since they were

being directly affected by diabetes they may have been motivated to make their voices

heard regarding issues associated with their self-care practices.

Data Collection and Recruitment

Data collection was quantitatively and qualitatively driven and complemented with

demographic data. The data was collected during 2009 and 2010 using a convenience

sample. The informed consent, quantitative surveys, and qualitative interview were

conducted orally.









Recruitment and Reimbursement

The investigator met with the person in charge of the facility from which

individuals were recruited and informed them about the study. This individual, such as

the head nurse or doctor of the clinic, the head of the church, the manager of the hair

salon, or the local community liaison were briefed about the study and sample

recruitment needs. Next, the research investigator asked the appropriate individual in

charge of the facility to give out flyers to make initial contact with women and introduce

the study to interested participants who met the inclusion criteria. In addition, the

investigator put up flyers at UFIRB approved sites and recruited interested parties from

clinics, at churches, and in low income housing communities. To supplement the

recruitment process, snowball sampling was employed as needed, to obtain an

appropriate sample for the study. The participants were not financially compensated for

their time. A reminder phone call if possible was made before each interview.

Data Collection

The data was collected during 2009-2010. All the instruments, including the

informed consent were conducted orally. For the quantitative study, participants were

asked to respond to the demographic information questionnaire and the SKILLD survey.

The SKILLD survey was particularly appropriate for use with the participants because it

was given orally in an effort to avoid problems with reading comprehension (Rothman et

al. 2005). The quantitative surveys lasted approximately 20 minutes. The SDCSA was

also administered orally.

For the qualitative study individual interviews lasted between 35 to 60 minutes.

Open-ended semi-structured questions for the individual interviews were used in this

study. Using open-ended semi-structured individual interviews is a common method for









data collection to gather data from various participants (Kvale, 1996). Understanding

constructed realities meant that the investigator interacted and talked with participants

about their views, perceptions, and experiences (Maxwell, 2005). Further, interviews

allowed the researcher to go beneath the surface of the described experience, stop and

explore a statement or topic, request more detail or explanation, ask about participants'

thoughts or feelings, restate, validate the participants' humanity, and use observational

and social skills to enhance the discussion (Charmaz, 2006).

In qualitative research the sample size is typically small (Crabteee & Miller, 1999)

because as Patton (2002) indicated, though a small sample is used in qualitative

inquiry, high quality, detailed descriptions of each case (key for documenting

uniqueness) and important shared patterns (emerging out of heterogeneity) are

beneficial. Guest and colleagues (2006) indicated that selecting sample size typically

relies on the concept of "saturation" or the point at which no new information is

observed in the data, since no published guidelines or test of adequacy for estimating

the sample size exists. Patton (2002) indicated that sampling to the point of redundancy

was an ideal that works best when choosing the participants. Therefore data collection

continued until saturation was achieved, which was the point at which no new

information emerged.

Data Analysis Process

Data collection was primarily quantitatively driven, with an embedded qualitative

design using concurrent data collection and analysis. The goal of the data analysis

process was first to, analyze each of the quantitative and qualitative data sets and

second, to identify the women's descriptions of their experiences and show how the

experiences helped them manage their diabetes.









Creswell and Clark (2007) proposed several guidelines for the concurrent

embedded design analysis. This study first employed Stage 1, which involves

conducting separate initial data analysis for the quantitative and qualitative data sets.

Unlike the triangulation design where both data sets are merged to present a complete

picture developed from both data sets, for the embedded design the supportive data set

(qualitative) reinforces or refutes the results of the primary data set (quantitative).

Hence the data analysis was guided by the question, What additional information was

obtained during the correlational study from the qualitative data? To answer this

question, Stage 2 of the concurrent embedded design was implemented whereby the

data was compared by a discussion using the (qualitative) data to reinforce or refute the

results of the primary data set (quantitative). The results for both stages of this analysis

process are presented in chapter 4.

A study that includes both quantitative and qualitative methods without explicitly

integrating the data derived from each is simply a collection of multiple methods

(Creswell & Clark, 2007), which is not the intention of this study. For this study, though

both methodologies were used to answer different research questions, they had

common goals: (1) to identify knowledge and behaviors regarding self-care practices of

African-American women with T2DM and (2) to apply the model for understanding the

crisis of physical illness through the different data collection strategies. Further, this

study employed a rigorous and strong mixed-method design that addressed key factors

(such as timing and weighting of data, explained previously) in integrating data analysis

decisions.









For the embedded design-correlational model used in this study, the embedded

data may be either one- or two-phased (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Conceptually, a one-

phased approach was used to embed data at the design level and connect data from

data analysis to data collection. Decisions regarding timing, weighting, and mixing the

data are also important in mixed-methods data analysis. Timing refers to the time the

data sets are collected and describes the order in which the researchers use the data

within a study, classified in one of two ways, concurrent or sequential (Creswell & Clark,

2007). This study used a concurrent data collection and analysis procedure.

Concurrent timing occurs when the researcher implements both quantitative and

qualitative methods during a fixed time of the research study. This means that the data

are collected, analyzed, and interpreted during the same time period (Creswell & Clark,

2007), even though they were collected at different times during this period.

Weighting refers to the emphasis of the approaches in the study, that is, the

relative importance or priority of the quantitative and qualitative methods in answering

the study questions (Creswell & Clark, 2007). There are two options, giving equal

weight or unequal weight. Equal weighting suggests that the investigator assumed each

method played an equally important role in addressing the research problem. Unequal

weighting means one of the methods will have a greater emphasis within the study than

the other method. The unequal weighting was more appropriate for this study for a

number of reasons. First, unequal weighting best addressed the research questions

and goals. Since limited work has been done to determine the state of diabetes

knowledge among these specific adult women, it is important to identify the knowledge

level for these individuals. Historically, more work has been done regarding identifying









individuals experiences with diabetes self-care. Hence it was more of a priority to give

weight to assessing the knowledge level for these individuals. Further, practical

considerations for using this method also made it more appropriate for this study. Since

it takes more resources to implement a study that gives equal weight to the two

methods, this study prioritized the unequal method. Concurrent data analysis first

involved procedures that involved conducting a separate initial data analysis for each of

the qualitative and the quantitative data sets (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Hence coding,

theme development, and the interrelationship of themes were done.

Next, the concurrent data analysis allowed the quantitative and qualitative data

sets to be used, the supportive data set (qualitative) reinforcing and supplementing the

results of the primary (quantitative) data set. This allowed the researcher to answer the

research questions for the quantitative and qualitative studies through a discussion

(Creswell & Clark, 2007). The qualitative study sought to provide contextual information

to supplement the quantitative study and allow for a more appropriate application of the

theoretical guide for this study, the model for understanding the crisis of a physical

illness. In addition, the investigator consistently used the following key question

proposed in Creswell and Clark, 2007, to guide the research analysis process: What

additional information is obtained during the correlational quantitative study from the

qualitative data?

Quantitative study. The quantitative study used descriptive statistics, including

frequencies, percentages, sample mean, median, and standard deviation, to analyze

the personal characteristics of the sample participants, the SKILLD scores of women

with diabetes and the SCSCA scores. For this correlational study, explanatory and









outcome variables (Table 2-1) were level of income, level of education achieved, length

of time with diabetes, and glycemic control. Knowledge about diabetes also served as

both an explanatory variable and an outcome variable. For the associations between

knowledge level of diabetes and self-care activities, knowledge about diabetes was the

explanatory variable. However, knowledge about diabetes care was the outcome

variable for associations made with income, education level attained, length of time with

diabetes, and glycemic control. These variables were particularly important because

they have each been correlated with knowledge about diabetes self-care in previous

empirical evidence (Rothman et al., 2005). In this study, socioeconomic status was

broken down into level of personal and household income and level of education

achieved, both measured as a continuous variable. As the outcome variable the level of

diabetes knowledge was measured by a composite score from the SKILLD. Knowledge

was examined as a continuous variable (total SKILLD score of 0-100%) when regarded

as the explanatory or outcome variable. Single item knowledge results were compared

to SKILLD knowledge scores (range 0%-100%) and compared to incomes, education

(continuous variable), length of time with diabetes (continuous variable), and glycemic

control, which was also a continuous and ordinal variable (greater than or less than 70-

120 mg/dL [3.89-6.67] of their glucose level).

Total SKILLD knowledge scores using Pearson correlation coefficients and t-

tests. In addition, SKILLD knowledge scores (range 0%-100%) were compared to the

scores from the SDSCA scores using Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients,

and t tests.









Qualitative study. The qualitative research used semi-structured, open-ended

interviews (Swandt, 1997). Open-ended questions asked during these interviews

allowed the participants to supply answers in their own words. For the qualitative data

analysis, aggregating the words or images into categories of information and presenting

the diversity of ideas gathered during data collection (Creswell & Clark, 2007was the

modus operandi). Computer assisted software is particularly useful for organizing and

storing large quantities of data (Hatch, 2002, p. 208), and in this study Atlas ti 5.2 was

used. The qualitative interviews were transcribed verbatim, labeled with numbers for

identification, converted to a rich text file and uploaded in Atlas ti 5.2. Thematic analysis

refers to analyzing transcripts in an effort to reduce the mass of qualitative data to make

sense of the material and identify core consistencies and meanings (Patton, 2002).

Here thematic analysis identified emergent themes. Free line-by-line coding was done

and codes obtained were used to generate categories. This helped develop themes,

ultimately proposing plausible relationships among concepts and sets of concepts.

Subsequently, the data was taken to an expert panel of qualitative researchers to

further guide the data analysis process and to ensure that the themes were plausible

and the quotes matched the appropriate themes identified. This analysis was rigorous

and allowed the data to be examined a number of times to derive the best way to

present the mass of data obtained in the study, which fostered a systematic approach to

analysis. Lastly, the report writing was done. This was not separated from the analytical

process, since summarizing data and selecting descriptors that reflect the intricacy of

the data was key in completing the analysis. The presentation of the results was









prefaced with a section that illustrated who the participants were based on the

suggestion of the expert panel.

Summary

This chapter described the methodology that was used to conduct this study. Data

collection was primarily quantitatively driven, with an embedded qualitative design using

a one-phased correlational concurrent embedded design for the data collection and

analysis. This study used a mixed methodology to examine a modified model for

understanding adaption to a physical illness. This is the first study to have illustrated

that African-American women with T2DM adapt and improve self-care practices by

surmounting a series of crisis. Further, the present study not only applied the model to

understand the crisis experienced after the onset of a physical illness, but it also

measured knowledge for diabetes and self-care activities and explored African-

American women's experiences and perceptions about diabetes. This study therefore

also used methodologically different approaches to apply the various parts of a similar

model (the model for explaining model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness)

using a correlational embedded mixed-methods design.

The theoretical framework was the conceptual model for understanding the crisis

of physical illness (Moos & Tsu, 1977) used to explain the correlations between the

predictor and explanatory variables. The explanatory model was used to develop the

interview guide (Kleinman, 1980) for the qualitative development of the interview guide.

Thematic analysis was done. All data were recorded and interviews transcribed

verbatim. The quantiative and qualitative studies used a convenience sampling

method. Interviews were conducted in a specified location by the participant Validity

and reliability were ensured in each aspect of the research process. This study was









designed to explore some of this target population's experiences with their diabetes,

assess their diabetes knowledge and self-care practices, and explore their experiences

and perceptions to identify ways that African-American women translate the education

obtained from the healthcare system into practical use in their home and lives.


SKILLS & EXPERIENCE


Figure 3-1. Adaptation of a conceptual model for understanding the crisis of a physical
illness. (From "Coping with Acute Health illness." By R.H. Moos, 1982 In T.
Milton, C. Green, and R. Meagher (Eds.), Handbook of Clinical Health
Psychology (pp. 129-151).


Influential Factors


Cognitive Adaptive Cognitive
Appraisal Tasks Skdls
(PMeaniw
Meanihg)


Physical and
Social Environmental
Factors
(Social Spport)


I









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS, DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS

Introduction

The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self-care

activities and explore experiences of African-American women with type 2 diabetes

mellitus (T2DM). The specific aims of this study were to (1) assess knowledge about

diabetes in African-American women; (2) explore the associations between African-

American women's knowledge of diabetes and (a) income level, (b) years of education,

(c) length of time with diabetes, (d) glycemic control, and (e) self-care activities; (3)

explore experiences of African-American women with managing their diabetes as well

as their understanding of diabetes.

This chapter is organized first with the quantitative then the qualitative study

results followed by a discussion of the results. Findings presented in this chapter follow

the research question it answers. The discussion section includes not only a discussion

of the study findings, but also the study limitations, implications and suggestions for

future research.

Participant Characteristics/Demographics

The sample consisted of 52 participants who met the study criteria. Study

participants were recruited from UFIRB-approved sites, including clinics, churches, low-

income community residential facilities and healthcare service facilities in Alachua

County and the surrounding areas. Flyers were used to invite women who met the

criteria to participate in the study. The flyers and snowball sampling of respondents

were the primary methods used to select participants. Interviews took place in a private

location convenient for the participant. Informed consent was explained and each









participant signed hers. All instruments: the informed consent form, the demographic

information questionnaire, the SKILLD and SDSCA were orally administered to each

participant and her responses written down.

The mean age of the sample was 55 years ranging from 40 to 64. Participants had

known they had had diabetes for an average of approximately 9 years ranging from 1 to

32 years; the mean blood sugar reading was 136, with a minimum reading of 70 and a

maximum of 263. Based on participants' self report of their last blood sugar reading,

eight participants did not disclose this reading due to inability to remember their last

reading (Table 4-1). Participants reported their education as high as 15 years and as

low as 7 years, with a mean of 11.97. Approximately 42.3 percent of the participants

had personal incomes of $10,000 or less and 25 percent reported personal income

between $10,000 and $20,000. When asked about the total household income, 32.7

percent of the participants reported $10,000 or less, 25 percent reported household

income between $10,000 and $20,000 (Table's 4-2 and 4-3). The majority of the

participants were from Alachua County (86.5%), while 11.5% and 1.9% were from Levy

and Putnam counties respectively (Table 4-4). Over half the sample (61.5%)

participated in some form of diabetes education classes (53.8%) or got information from

doctors (7.7%), while 38.5% of the participants had no formal diabetes classes or

education (Table 4-5).

A power analysis was performed based on the effect size found from this study,

statistical procedures used in the study, type I error, and sample number. By securing

52 participants along with the highest strength of association found in this study (0.40),

the actual statistical power is estimated favorable (0.92) based on two-tailed hypothesis









and type I error at 0.05. In a more conservative estimate when 0.3 is used as an

average medium correlation coefficient, the power is also acceptable (0.82). From the

52 participants surveyed, 14 individuals participated in a face-to-face 35-60 minute oral

in-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews. The following results are presented

based on the research questions and hypotheses set forth in the study.

Results of Individual Research Questions

Research Question #1

What knowledge level did African-American women with T2DM have about their

disease?

The total SKILLD score was determined by computing the participant responses

on each individual item of the survey, with each question having a point value of ten.

Descriptive statistics indicated that the mean SKILLD score of the participants was

57.31 and the Standard Deviation (SD) was 17.50. Overall, the respondents answered

more than half the questions correctly, some scoring as little as 20, and others as high

as 100 out of a possible 100 points with a range of 80, and the most commonly

occurring score (the mode) was 70 (Table 4-6). Forty-four percent of the participants

scored 50 or less on the SKILLD score (Table 4-7).

Research Question #2

Were African-American women's knowledge levels about their T2DM self-care

associated with income, years of education, length of time with T2DM, or glycemic

control?

Null Hypotheses H01. Respondents' knowledge scores were not associated with

(a) income, (b) years of education, (c) length of time with T2DM, or (d) glycemic control.









Results. To ascertain that the normality assumption is met before conducting a

Pearson Correlation, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z score (K-S Z) was calculated over the

continuous variables. A p value equal or higher than 0.05 indicates the normal

distribution assumption is met for the tested variable (Corder & Foreman, 2009). Also, if

some variables were not continuous, then a Spearman rank correlation test was

deemed more appropriate. Before testing the association between SKILLD scores and

income, normality assumptions were examined for the following variables: (1) SKILLD,

(2) income (personal and total), (3) years of education, (4) length of time with T2DM,

and (5) glycemic control. The K-S Z scores were the following: (1) SKILLD score = 1.09

with p = 0.19; (2) income: personal income = 1.87 with p = 0.00 and total income = 1.4

with p = 0.04; (3) years of education = 2.13 with p = 0.00; (4) length of time with T2DM =

1.60 with p = 0.01; and (5) glycemic control = 1.22 with p = 0.10. SKILLD score and

glycemic control were considered normally distributed. However, total and personal

incomes, years of education, and length of time with diabetes had a p value less than

0.05 and cannot be treated as normal distributions (Table 4-8).

SKILLD scores and income. Normality assumptions were examined prior to

testing the association between SKILLD scores and incomes. SKILLD scores can be

treated as a normal distribution, but total and personal incomes cannot be treated as

normal distributions. Since one variable was continuous and one ordinal, a Spearman's

rank order correlation was used to examine their association. Positive non-significant

correlations were found between SKILLD scores and both income variables: personal

income (rho = 0.24) and total household income (rho = 0.21). The findings confirm the









null hypothesis that there were no associations between SKILLD scores and personal

and household incomes (Table 4-9).

SKILLD scores and education. Normality assumptions were examined before

testing the association between SKILLD scores and education. To identify the

association between two continuous variables, where SKILLD scores were normally

distributed, but years of education were not a Spearman's rank correlation was

calculated. There was a positive significant correlation (rho = 0.24) between SKILLD

scores and the years of education. Results showed participants with more years of

education were more likely to have better knowledge about T2DM (Table 4-10). The

findings refute the null hypothesis.

SKILLD scores and length of time with diabetes. Normality assumptions were

examined before testing the association between SKILLD score and education. The

SKILLD score was normally distributed, but the length of time with T2DM was not. A

Spearman's rank correlation was done to identify the association between two

continuous variables, SKILLD score and the length of time with T2DM. There was a

negative non-significant correlation (rho = -0.11) between SKILLD score and length of

time with T2DM (Table 4-11).

SKILLD scores and glycemic control. Only 44 participants of the 52 were able

to recall their last blood sugar reading. Prior to examining the association between

SKILLD scores and glycemic control, the normality assumption was tested on the

variable of blood sugar reading. The SKILLD scores and latest blood sugar reading

were treated as normal distributions. Hence, the association between two continuous

variables, SKILLD scores and blood sugar reading, was identified using a Pearson









correlation, where both variables were normally distributed (Table 4-12). There was a

positive non-significant correlation between SKILLD scores and glycemic control with

diabetes (r = 0.17).

An independent sample t test was also done to examine the SKILLD scores

between the participants who controlled their glycemic level well and those who did not.

Since the SKILLD score was normally distributed, inferences were done to compare the

SKILLD mean scores. Sixteen of the 44 participants (36.4%) who reported their blood

sugar levels were well controlled while 28 (63.6%) did not control well. Those who

controlled well had a mean SKILLD score of 55 and a SD of 18.97 while those who did

not control well had a mean of 60 and a SD of 17.43 (Table 4-13). The independent t-

test indicated no statistically significant difference in SKILLD score between the two

groups in glycemic control (t = -0.89, df = 42, p = 0.38) (Table 4-14).

Research Question #3

What were the associations between the African-American women's level of

knowledge of T2DM and their self-care activities?

Null Hypothesis H02. There were no associations between respondent's level of

knowledge of T2DM self-care and their self-care activities.

Results. The association between SKILLD scores and self-care activities were

done after normality assumptions were examined for the following variables: (1)

SDSCA-general diet, (2) SDSCA-specific diet, (3) SDSCA-exercise, (4) SDSCA-blood

sugar testing, and (5) SDSCA-foot care. A one-sample K-S Z test was performed for

each of the variables. The K-S Z scores were as follows: (1) SDSCA-general diet = 0.83

with p =.49; (2) SDSCA-specific diet = 1.25 with p = 0.09; (3) SDSCA-exercise = 1.09

with p = 0.19; (4) SDSCA-blood sugar testing = 1.70 with p = 0.01; and (5) SDSCA-foot









care = 1.41 with p = 0.04. SKILLD as well as SDSCA-general and specific diet and

SDSCA exercise were normally distributed. However, SDSCA-blood sugar testing and

foot care had p values less than 0.05 and cannot be treated as normal distributions

(Tables 4-15).

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-general diet. Before testing the association

between SKILLD scores and SDSCA-general diet, normality assumptions were

examined. A one-sample K-S Z test was performed. The variables of interest SKILLD

scores and SDSCA-general diet were both continuous, both SKILLD scores and

SDSCA-general diet were normally distributed. General diet was considered as

following a healthful eating plan within the last seven days and the month. The

association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA-general diet was identified using a

Pearson correlation. Knowledge for SKILLD scores and SDSCA-general diet were

positively correlated (r = 0.003) but it was not significant statistically (Table 4-16). This

supported the null hypothesis that there was no association between the SKILLD scores

and SDSCA-general diet.

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-specific diet. Before testing the association

between SKILLD scores and SDSCA- specific diet, normality assumptions were

examined. An SDSCA-specific diet was considered as having, within the last seven

days, greater than or equal to five servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods, such

as red meat or full-fat diary products. Both SKILLD scores and SDSCA-specific diet

were normally distributed. Hence, the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA-

specific diet was identified using a Pearson correlation. SKILLD scores and SDSCA-

specific diet were positively correlated (r = 0.28) with statistical significance. The results









showed participants who tend to engage in eating more fruits and vegetables and less

high-fat foods, such as red meat or full-fat dairy products, within the week prior to

questioning had more knowledge about T2DM than their counterparts (Table 4-17). This

association refuted the null hypothesis.

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise. Before testing the association between

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise, normality assumptions were examined. Both

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise were normally distributed. Hence, the association

between SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise were identified using a Pearson

correlation. Knowledge for SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise were negatively

correlated (r = -0.07), and it was not significant (Table 4-18).

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-blood sugar testing. Before testing the association

between SKILLD scores and SDSCA-blood sugar testing, normality assumptions were

examined. The SKILLD scores variable was normally distributed, but SDSCA-blood

sugar testing was not. A Spearman correlation was used to identify this relationship.

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-blood sugar testing were positively correlated (rho = 0.09)

and the results were not significant. The results showed, with no statistical significance,

participants who tend to engage more in self-care activities by blood sugar testing had

more knowledge about T2DM than their counterparts (Table 4-19).

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-foot care. Before testing for the association

between SKILLD scores and SDSCA-foot care, normality assumptions were examined.

The SKILLD scores variable was normally distributed, but SDSCA-foot care was not.

Hence, a Spearman correlation was used to identify this relationship. SKILLD scores

and SDSCA-foot care were positively correlated (rho = 0.40) and were statistically









significant. The results showed that participants who tend to engage in foot care self-

care activities during the last seven days by checking their feet and inspecting the inside

of their shoes, had more knowledge about T2DM than their counterparts (Table 4-20).

SKILLD scores and SDSCA-smoking. Since the SKILLD scores were normally

distributed, inferences concerning means were done to compare the SKILLD scores

mean scores between those who did or did not smoke. All participants in the study

reported their smoking status. Seven were smokers and 45 were non-smokers. Those

who smoked had a mean score of 55.71 and a SD of 16.18, while those who did not

smoke had a mean score of 57.56 and a SD of 17.86 (Table 4-21). The independent t-

test indicated no significant difference in SKILLD scores between the two groups,

smoking status (t = -0.89, df = 42, p =.38) (Table 4-22).

Research Question #4.

What are African-American women's experiences with managing their T2DM?

What adaptive tasks and coping skills did they use?

Research Question #5

How do African-American women perceive their T2DM? What is their perceived

meaning of T2DM?

There were many experiences expressed by the African-American women in this

study. The qualitative research questions four and five were answered together

because an individual's perception of T2DM seemed similar to their description of their

experience with T2DM and it was difficult to distinguish the two based on their

responses. To better understand who these women were, a magnified illustration of the

different types of experiences that these women had during their life with T2DM was

presented in the section titled Portrait of the African-American Woman with Diabetes in


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This Study below. Their experiences and perceptions seemed to fall into two distinct

thematic categories, namely (1) dealing with the diagnosis of T2DM and (2)

management of T2DM, with a number of consistent and unique factors influencing both

categories.

Portrait of the African-American Woman with Diabetes in This Study

This section presents a description of these women as diabetics. The women's

beliefs about the causes and meaning of T2DM, as well the role their past experiences

played provide insight into how the women eventually dealt with their own diagnosis of

T2DM and ultimately their self-care. It was important to distinguish the women's initial

beliefs and reactions from their current attitudes and beliefs about T2DM, because their

initial beliefs and reactions were altered by various influences and subsequent

experiences.

Their perceived meaning and cause of diabetes. For the most part, the women

were aware of factors that contributed to their T2DM. These factors included having a

genetic predisposition, being physically at risk (obese), having physical co-morbidities

(high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stress), and having bad habits relating to eating

and exercising. Not engaging in preventative health measures, inadequate health care

practices, and poverty were also indicated as possible contributing factors to T2DM.

These beliefs were illustrated best in the following quote:

[Diabetes] just means to me that it's something that come down through the
blood genes of the family .. and I've been told that you live long enough
that you will get it if it runs in your family. (P7).

To a lesser extent, T2DM was also believed to be linked to a particular culture, as

was expressed most succinctly in the following quote: "Well [I've] always heard that it

run strongly in African-American women, and [diabetes] done been through the whole


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family." All these perceptions set the context for the women's lives and helped the

researcher understand just how they perceived their condition.

Most participants knew the causes of T2DM or had their own perception of the

disease, while other participants were unaware or unsure of what caused their T2DM as

indicated in the quote: "You know, I really don't know." Some women were mistrustful of

their doctors and felt that they were misdiagnosed and had received incorrect treatment

by their doctor that led them to have T2DM. These bad experiences with doctors

impacted their self-management:

I have had experience with bad doctors, who just told me what was normal,
what was in the book, but they never evaluated me. The lack of perfect
medications and of easily prepared foods also made it difficult. (P1)

Obtaining good medical care could be a problem for these disadvantaged women.

It was heart rending when one woman, crying, expressed her gratitude to me in just

allowing her to talk about her experience with T2DM because she felt that she had no

support and no one who took the time to listen, including her doctor.

Misconceptions about treatment were evident. For example, one individual

expressed that only taking the gel from the aloe vera plant would help treat her T2DM.

Many of them mentioned being "cured" or "beating diabetes," by which they meant that

God would one day cure them if they had enough faith. Only a few of them were aware

that T2DM had no cure, but if it was managed well, they could live a healthy life. Many

women, were unaware of the power of self-care and its role in helping them live a long

and healthy life. Another experience of the women was that many of them were in

constant pain and some had physical conditions that had never been diagnosed.

Reflected in their past reactions to their diabetes was the inherent sorrow that

many women experienced when they were first diagnosed. They were frustrated that


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they had become diabetic, resentful that, despite all they did to help their family

members who had T2DM, they still got the disease themselves, and fearful of what

could happen to them. These reactions could manifest themselves in denial or

avoidance of diabetic self-care activities. Particularly notable when they were first

diagnosed with T2DM was that many of the women perceived this to mean a type of

illness "causing death." The general perception of the women that diabetes meant death

was illustrated below:

I know it's a chronic disease and it takes you a long time to get into it, but it
takes you a longer time to get out of because of the things that go on with
your body. And I know it take a lot longer, you have to control your eating
habits, your exercising. .... So when you say diabetes ... I know people
that have had diabetes and have died. (P1)

Past experiences. The women made references in large part to childhood

experiences that impacted their self-care behaviors. Childhood reflections impacted

their view of what having T2DM meant. So their childhood experiences with people with

T2DM tainted their view of someone with the disease. Not only was diabetes something

that caused death, but it was suppose to be a disease that affected older people. One

woman expressed this best because when she found out she had T2DM an image was

brought to her mind:

[Diabetics] couldn't walk, they usually had a cane, or they were still in a
wheelchair. Usually they were very large. They always had something
swollen, especially their feet. Their feet was always swollen .... They was
always coughing ... so as a child I remember diabetes was one step from
death ... so you treat people like that because they may die any minute
(P1).

Lack of financial resources was another challenge for these women. Though some

women accepted their condition, not having the money to care for T2DM affected their

self-management. Many of the participants stated that they grew up in a situation where


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going to the doctor for preventative care was not typical. Most women who reflected on

their childhood experiences indicated that they were not given foods that were healthy

for them; and their meals were not planned growing up. As a result, childhood

experiences with diet also impacted their self-care practices as adults. Present diets

were indicated by a few of the women to be a reflection of their upbringing and how they

were taught to cook "lots of fat, salt, and lots of everything." This is illustrated best in

the following quote:

As a child I was never taught proper eating skills. We did not concentrate
on what was good to eat, we ate what was available, whatever was given to
us, and that practice continued until adulthood (P1).

Despite such physical ailments as poor circulation, fatigue, and an inability to do

activities they were used to doing, many ignored their T2DM and did not go to the

doctor for months or even years because they did not want to hear anything the doctor

had to say about their diagnosis. This helps explain why the women who did not accept

their diagnosis when they first heard it had serious problems due to noncompliance.

Attempts to acknowledge and do something about their condition eventually occurred,

as can been seen from their current experiences. For those who could not accept their

condition, their T2DM was not monitored until a seminal event happened and real

change occurred in their lives. These events included physical deterioration that caused

them to suffer great pain, loss of a foot or leg, go blind, or suffer kidney failure.

The women's experiences are extreme examples of an array of events, their

common denominator being their eventual journey back to acceptance and the highs

and lows associated with trying to walk the intricate path of diabetic self-care. Regarding

dealing with T2DM, despite where they started, most of the women had a hope of living,

not only for themselves, but for their loved ones:


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Well, now, what helps me to really try and encourage me to try and do
better is, I have three kids that need me, I need to be healthier for myself,
and then I have 3 kids that I adopted and um that need me to be there for
them, and I can't be there for them if I don't take care of myself, and I have
a sick husband that also depends on me so I got to take care of me in order
to take care of any of them. (P 11)

Most of the women had been intimately acquainted with the loss of loved ones due

to diabetes or had had someone in their family who suffered with diabetes, which led to

the strong culture of caring for others for these diabetic women. One woman's plea to

her granddaughter was to lose some weight so that she would not have to endure the

negative aspects of diabetes. Despite the fact that she was obese and in constant pain,

her first thoughts were for her granddaughter before herself. Because thinking of others

was such a large part of who these women were, reflecting on their experiences to

make recommendations to others was a joy for them. The irony for many of the women

was they gave the best advice, but they had not followed this advice themselves from

the very beginning when they were initially diagnosed with diabetes. Many felt it

important to tell others to face reality because they felt it an imperative stance if they

wanted to live. Many admitted that, had they followed their advice, today they would be

in much better physical condition and living a more pain- and stress-free life. These

recommendations included managing diabetes well, which meant learning everything

they could about diabetes, not to ignore the diagnosis, do all they could to live with it,

and follow the treatment by doctors to manage diabetes. The women's

recommendations are best indicated in the following quote:

I tell everybody, it's a do or die situation, you either manage it properly, or it
manages you. [Diabetes] will meet you if you meet it, so I'm dragging
myself into submission, (P2)


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Some women were very resilient. For example, I had the most difficulty scheduling

an interview with one woman who had bilateral above the knee amputations because

she was always on the move and did not allow her condition to stop her from doing the

things she wanted to do.

Past experiences also intimately acquainted them with the loss of loved ones due

to diabetes. The ways in which they talked about family or friends whom they had lost

due to diabetes showed wisdom gained from experience, and they were eventually

better for the experience though many had long periods of denying their condition or

distancing themselves from self-care.

As time passed and they had had diabetes longer, they became more hopeful and

rallied their belief in God and their vitality to live for their grandchildren and began to

perceive diabetes as something they could overcome. In addition, the women who

initially accepted their condition seemed to embrace this hope for their diabetes from the

very beginning. The few that accepted their condition when initially diagnosed, had

overcome other serious illnesses such as cancer or seemed to have more support when

they were first diagnosed that help them tackle diabetes from the very beginning.

The women living with diabetes in general tried to have positive attitudes about

having diabetes, but this did not stop some women from being particularly candid about

how they felt. Some expressed having real fears about diabetes because of how it had

affected others they knew or because they just did not have enough information to know

better or they resented diabetes for happening to them despite all they did to help

others who had diabetes in their past. Some women felt that they were the support

systems for their family, but it was not reciprocated. They feared going on dialysis or


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getting their limbs amputated. Feeling stigmatized specifically indicating feeling judged

by family, their bosses, and doctors, because of their diabetes, was also noted by a few

women.

Taking care of their diabetes was challenging because it meant being constantly

vigilant about their self-care. Hence, the women struggled with the process of self-care

as indicated best in the quote that follows: "I've had a struggle trying to find the right

medication, trying to find the right exercise program, trying to even find the right

combination of foods that work for me." Ultimately, they believed that because diabetes

affects various parts of the body, it was difficult to manage the intricate nature of taking

care of their diabetes:

diabetes affects everything, and so you got to watch out for everything, your
whole body and that's a big job that's a big thing to do and that's a hard
thing to do, because you concentrate on your eyes, then your feet go, if you
concentrate on your feet then your circulation goes it's just hard to do
unless you are at the top of your game, you know, 24/7, and I don't think
anyone can do that but we just have to do the best we can. (P1)

Currently, the women were, for the most part, hopeful. Some had trouble finding a

physician who would listen to their concerns. Physicians the patients felt comfortable

with who recommended different things for care and most importantly, did not

stereotype or talk down to them, but recognized them as a person who just wanted to

be heard. In addition, family support caregivers, especially husbands, sisters, and

nieces were invaluable and helped them manage their diabetes. Establishing routine,

planning meals, reading relevant literature, and gaining knowledge was also important

in helping the women adapt to diabetes.


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Although each participant had a unique story, the African-American women's

experiences with diabetes are summarized in the following sections titled Dealing with a

Diagnosis of T2DM and Management of T2DM.

Dealing with a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Each African-American woman in this study described her life with diabetes.

Dealing with the diagnosis was divided into two parts: (1) reaction to a diagnosis of

diabetes and (2) influential factors that impacted how she dealt with her diagnosis.

There were three general reactions to being told "You had diabetes": denial, avoidance,

or recognition and acceptance. The influential factors clustered around (1) past

experiences, (2) seminal events, (3) perceived long term consequences, (4) level of

awareness or understanding or misunderstanding, and (5) support.

Reactions. From examining each woman's life experience with diabetes, their

initial responses to their diagnosis of diabetes fell into one of three reactions: they

denied, avoided and ignored it or accepted it. Six participants accepted their diabetes

diagnosis when they were first diagnosed. Of the six, one participant accepted her

diagnosis, but a tragedy occurred in her life that led her to ignore or avoid doing the

necessary self-management practices required. Seven participants all ignored, avoided,

or denied that they had diabetes, which led to various forms of lack of self-management

until some significant life event, crisis, or realization occurred that impelled them toward

a better diabetes self-management lifestyle.

Of the seven participants who did not accept their condition when diagnosed, four

used the term "denial" to describe how they initially dealt with their diabetes. For these

women, "denial" meant that they did not acknowledge diabetes and this lasted for a

period of time as is illustrated from the following quotes:


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I didn't accept the diagnosis. I was in denial. ..... I didn't do anything. I
refused to do the treatment ... [for] about 6 months. (P1)

I was in denial. It's just like the doctors said. I'm a diabetic, but I really don't
believe that and I don't have to be a diabetic and I'm not listening to what
the doctor says. (P11)

Of those participants who chose to ignore or avoid their diabetes, one ignored or

avoided her condition due to her "beliefs" that she was "misdiagnosed," that diabetes

was an "old people disease," that she "didn't have the wisdom to deal with it," or that "as

a child I remember diabetes was one step away from death." Another believed the

doctor's diagnosis, but still ignored her condition, "Yes, I did [believe the doctor about

having diabetes]. You know, I just, really just, ignored [the diabetes]." Still another

first denied her condition, refused conventional medicine, then moved to "ignore" her

condition, choosing instead a folk medicine alternative:

At first, when they first gave me the medicine, I wouldn't take it because I
didn't have it. And if I did have it, I just wanted to run some aloe and make it
go away, because aloe is very good for diabetes. (P4)

Initially a few women accepted their diagnoses and were managing their diabetes

well, but a turn of events caused them to revert to neglecting self-care. It was also found

that participants diagnosed with the disease later in life seemed to move to acceptance

far quicker than those who were diagnosed early in life. In addition, particular beliefs

resulted in inadequate self-care, where one woman ignored her diabetes for a while.

However, like all the women she eventually accepted her condition again:

When I was diagnosed around thirty years ago, I was on pills and I took the
pills and stuff and the doctor told me if I eat right and do right and stuff and
follow the restrictions that I would be you know borderline, and just come off
of it, so you know for about three or four years, I did what the doctor said, I
didn't have to take you know pills or nothing. I went to controlling it very
well, I went to exercising .... I said I was going beat this ... then I had a
tragedy in my life, I lost a seventeen-year-old son, you know I eat and just


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didn't care. .. I just wasn't taking care of the inside of my body the way I
supposed to with my blood sugar (P5)

Some of the participants accepted their condition from the very beginning as

indicated by participant 14, "I start taking care of it from the very beginning when I was

diagnosed, [the doctor] had written a prescription for my meter... and my strips and all

that and I started that the next day" (P14). Some participants accepted their diagnoses,

but did not always adhere to the path of good self-care:

Right after I was diagnosed and I was checking everything and watching
what I eat and keeping my weight at a normal level and then somehow I
slipped and started doing what I really want to do. (P11)

In sum, less than half the participants initially accepted their diagnoses or were

proactive in their self-care. The one participant who had initially accepted her diagnosis

and was proactive in self-care activities, but had suffered the death of her son and had

avoided and ignored her diabetes, was also currently caring for her diabetes.

Interestingly, the women's experiences had a common denominator despite their initial

reaction of avoidance or denial, their eventual journey back to acceptance of their

diabetes particularly because the debilitating nature of their condition made them more

concerned. Hence, at the date of the interviews, all participants accepted their condition

and were in the process of caring for their diabetes. The above three reactions were

clearly identified from the data and seemed to be processes that each woman went

through in dealing with the diagnosis.

Influential factors. The participant's journey to self-care, were impacted by

various influential factors when they were first diagnosed with diabetes. These included

five major themes that reflected what influenced how the women dealt with their

diagnosis: (1) past experiences, (2) seminal events, (3) perceived long-term


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consequences, (4) level of awareness and understanding or misunderstanding, and (5)

support.

Past experiences. The women's past experiences with treatment, physical

ailments, and loss of family or friends were also important influential factors in how the

women dealt with their diabetes. Their perception of how diabetes impacted the lives of

family and friends was noteworthy:

It's really like not having a life, to have to be on the [dialysis] machine four
hours of your day and then you free for a day and then you got to go back.
It's a cycle ... if you happen not to be as blessed as my mom was to have
kids to take you to dialysis, then you got to ride the bus to dialysis. I sat
there and I watched these people come off dialysis and they had to wait at
least two hours before they could get a ride home. ... I don't want to end
up having to go up through all that. (P11)

Many women recognized and acknowledged the folly of their past actions. Hence,

experiences with physical ailments helped the majority of women concede that they

were not taking care of their diabetes. This process was illustrated best in the following

quote:

I have retina disease in my eyes, that is a downfall of the diabetes because
I wasn't taking care of the diabetes the way I was supposed to, so that's
nobody's faults but mine, as long as I do what I supposed to do for the
diabetes then I wouldn't have these faults, like you know a heart attack, a
little mild stroke. [Before] now I never had high blood pressure, but now I
have high blood pressure. ... if I'd a start from when they first diagnosed
me with the diabetes, of taking the pills, exercising, eating right, not doing
what I want, doing what I suppose to do ... I wouldn't a had these things.
(P4)

Past loss was another influential factor regarding how some dealt with their

diabetes. For example, losing a family member or friend who suffered prolonged

problems due to diabetes reminded them to, at all costs, avoid the suffering they saw

their loved ones endure, as was expressed below:


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I see all that Momma went through ... sometimes her sugar use to be so
low she would go in a coma and when she went in a coma it seems like she
blew up three times bigger than she was, cause my Momma was a heavy-
set woman, and when she went in a coma they had to break the wall down
to pull her through the window to bring her out because they couldn't get
through the room door, because she so heavy, and then she had to blow up
bigger and see all that she went through, you know suffer. I don't want to go
through all of that. (P8)

Past experiences were potent reminders of what participants did not want for their

own lives and so acted as motivators for self-care.

Seminal events. These major or seminal events occurred in several women's

lives which significantly impacted how they dealt with their diabetes. These occurred

because of altered beliefs or the role family members in their lives or physical ailments

that impelled them to deal with their diabetes. Altered beliefs occurred for many women

who simply had erroneous information about diabetic self-care, so once they got the

information, they were able to change a fundamental error in their belief systems that

led them to better self-care practices. Many of the women also had family members who

were diabetics or who were very supportive to them, or both, and they did not have time

to neglect their condition. Their family might call them daily, help them plan meals, or

teach them how to test their glucose level and these events significantly altered their

subsequent behaviors. In dealing with their diabetes, many women's beliefs were

altered when their family, friends, or others enlightened them as soon as they were

diagnosed with diabetes and one participant illustrated this best:

Fearful because I like to eat the wrong things, because I used to eat what I
wanted ... but knowing at the same time that it can cause kidney failure
something like that and I be fearful for my sister always say. Well,
you're just going to die, might lose your kidneys, you might go blind, might
lose one of your limbs, you won't necessarily just die. Kind of scared me,
and knowing that it won't go lower, so I just follow, so it make you kind of
fearful. (P7)


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The role of family in their lives therefore impacted how they dealt with diabetes

from the very beginning. For participant 7, it was her sister's scare tactics that really

affected how she dealt with diabetes and promoted her self-care behaviors. Having a

diabetic family member in their lives when they were initially diagnosed with diabetes

proved instrumental in helping them deal with their diabetes and was later invaluable to

helping them care for their diabetes. For example, "[My niece], the one got me started,

she would come down and she wrote me a little menu to go by before. ... I'm getting

there" (P14).

Participant 5, on the other hand, lost a family member and this was another

example of a seminal event that hindered her, in particular, from staying on a positive

track for dealing with their diabetes. Unlike other women who experienced loss earlier in

their lives, the loss was of older individuals who had diabetes. This participant however,

the loss was of her son who did not have diabetes. Initially she accepted her diagnosis

and, according to her view, dealt with it well. The death of her son, however, resulted in

her feeling depressed and not wanting to have to deal with the fact that she had

diabetes, as she related: "I handled [my diabetes] good, and like I said, I handled it good

[but] 10 years later, you know, when my son died, it took a hold, it took a toll on me

(P5).

In general, these seminal events in the women's lives changed their behaviors

drastically, impacting how they initially dealt with their diabetes.

Perceived long-term consequences. These consequences of having diabetes

impacted how the women dealt with their diagnoses. Long-term consequences

expressed by a majority of the women when they were initially diagnosed with diabetes


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related to concerns about lack of treatment, loss pertaining to kidney function and not

wanting to go on dialysis, and loss of, limbs, sight, and family members. The paradox of

their experiences is that some women, despite their diminished health, refused

medication or ignored self-care activities. However, increasingly unbearable physical

pain that they experienced impacted their decision to deal with diabetes because this

pain forced them to go and get treatment since it either became too unbearable or they

were fearful of increasingly negative outcomes.

Losing kidney function, for example, was perceived as a severe consequence for

the majority of the women in this study. This was especially true because they had seen

others affected in this way. Their actions regarding how they dealt with their diagnoses

were therefore influenced and the majority of the women used their knowledge about

the consequences to motivate themselves. One woman, encouraged to take her

medication, said, "I don't want to go on dialysis, so I just take my medication and keep

my glucose checked, you know, as I should" (P14).

Experiencing the loss of a family member or friend from the consequences of

diabetes helped them think about how they had to deal with diabetes. Despite their

realization that diabetes resulted in death for many they knew, the women expressed

hope regarding their condition as seen in the following representative quote:

A lot of my family members have died from it and so I'd be concerned about
what it can cause in the body. And hopefully. I don't have to deal with it
the rest of my life. I'll go another way besides diabetes. (P7)

Level of awareness and beliefs or misunderstandings. Though conceptually

different, these three factors were put together because they relate to information. They

were considered to be influential factors in how the women dealt with their diabetes.

One participant reflected how her belief in God helped her deal with her diabetes since


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she feels closer to God. "I care now [about dealing with diabetes] cause I'm closer to the

Lord and back then I didn't care. Cause you know I'm with God now, and I done

realize a lot of stuff, and I'm happy about that, and I can deal with [the diabetes] more"

(P3).

For some women, various beliefs held by them indicated that they did not have a

true understanding of their condition. The quote from participant 5 expressed this lack of

understanding best: "So I figured if I didn't have to take the pill then I could control it."

This quote indicates that she did not understand that to avoid taking the pill would

contribute to exacerbating her diabetes, not make it better.

Some women were not aware of their lack of understanding, while others were not

only aware of what they did not know, but expressed specific hopes based their belief in

God or information they learned in the past about diabetes.

Support. This came from various sources in the women's lives. Diabetes

education classes helped improve awareness; family members who were diabetic and

caregivers, especially close relatives, also provided help in dealing with a participant's

diagnosis. There were other factors that played key roles in how some women dealt

with their diabetes. Those who were best informed and aware had the best outcomes. It

is also notable that a few women mentioned that knowing they were helping others

provided strength for them to deal with their diabetes.

The example below illustrates the role of the diabetes education class, which not

only increased their awareness, but also supported their efforts to live with diabetes.

The classes also helped them overcome some of the fears that they initially had about


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the disease so they were able to better deal with their diagnosis of diabetes. The

following quotes help illustrate:

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I took a class on nutrition, and
they teach you all the things you need to know about how to eat, how much
to eat, to read the food labels, how much salt you should have and all, all
the things that what to do when your diabetes is low when it is too high,
what to do when you have a sick day and they taught us all that in the class
and it was really encouraging. (P11)

Because I didn't think I could give myself the shot, I was like, Oh, no, not a
needle. But I went to my doctor's office and they showed me how to do it.
First couple of weeks, I was like, Oh, my God, that was one of the dreaded
things. But then I got use to it. She taught me how to do it and told me how
to take it in my stomach area, told me how to do it and everything, and I
started doing it. Now it's nothing. (P6)

These quotes captured how their initial exposure to classes really helped to relieve

some of their fears and insecurities about taking the medicine using a syringe, and

encouraged them to deal with their condition.

Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus-Influential Factors

Proactive and inactive represent the highs and lows of diabetes self-management

for these women. Participants were regarded as proactive if they were currently caring

for their diabetes and inactive if they ceased to care for their diabetes. Typically, once a

participant acknowledged the importance of self-care, she became proactive in the

management of her care. There were, however, times when some women chose not to

manage, becoming inactive regarding their care. The themes for the management of

T2DM involved various factors which either impeded or facilitated the women's

management of T2DM.


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Impediments

These included treatment concerns, such as medication issues and concerns

about their providers, and lifestyle changes, including implementing self-management,

personal barriers, and inadequate resources.

Treatment concerns. For some, these included overcoming the difficulty of taking

their first insulin by syringe (needle), finding the right medications, or finding the right

doctor, as is illustrated in the quotes below:

The first shot I gave myself. ... I was crying because I didn't want to shoot
myself. (P4)

It's a struggle everyday, simply because there is so many things that you
desire to do that you cannot do. There is always the, ah, ball and chain of
your medicine and I am on the insulin and your insulin pretty much
controls your life. My biggest struggle was not just with my diet, but also
getting the medical help that I thought I needed ... and I do believe that a
lot got to do with [that] because I am sure that a lot of the patients was
black overweight women, and they judge us all on the same scale and
that's why they didn't listen. Its been a struggle just finding someone
that would finally listen to me. (P1)

The struggle to care for their diabetes was evident. However, to a great extent, the

women seemed to feel that treatment concerns added additional concerns for them

regarding their self-care practices. This is important to mention because, for many of the

women, they had better treatment experiences the longer they had had diabetes.

Lifestyle changes. For many women, having to incorporate lifestyle changes to

ensure that they managed their diabetes well, proved difficult at times. These difficulties

included overcoming certain habits, personal barriers, and inadequate resources.

Habituations, including culinary and food preferences, overcoming a lack of discipline,

temptations, distractions, and attitudes that got in their way, as well as their inadequate


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resources, were cited as things they had difficulties with, illustrated by the following

quotes:

I was not and still am not as disciplined as I should be .... I contributed. I'm
my own worse enemy. Oh, yes. Headstrong. Yes, very headstrong. I
contributed to my own situation. You can't keep abusing the situation and
expect everything to come up roses. It doesn't work that way. (P2)

And I'm not going to lie to you. Sometimes I see those commercials of
Pepsi or something on TV and I say, "Um. I wish I had me a soda." (P6)

I still get that way [hardheaded] sometimes now, but I'm, I'm, I'm doing
better. When I feel that, hey, you know, I got to do this, so I do it,
sometimes I go and forget to take my shot cause I be running out in the
morning, so now that I'm doing it good, I am doing it good now cause I take
my shot at night, so I take it in the evening, so I take it before my last meal
in the evening which is before 7 so I take my shot then. (P5)

Depending on, you know, what's going on with me, what I'm feeling I guess,
I may eat it knowing I shouldn't eat it.. .. I have my weakness. (P13)

In addition to lack of discipline, to a certain extent, a few women indicated that

they prioritized their co-morbidities because they were first diagnosed with a condition

such as high blood pressure or they knew more about the other condition, so focusing

on the first condition almost became a habit. Trying to add caring for diabetes as part of

a health routine and making it a habit proved difficult at times:

The most important thing that I worried about back then was my blood
pressure, and the doctor used to tell me, if you take care of your diabetes
the way you take care of your blood pressure, you'll be all right, but I was
hard headed and now I'm paying the price for it. (P5)

These findings illustrate the need to focus on overcoming the difficulties that were

imperative for the majority of women to address in order to better care for their diabetes.

Facilitators

Factors that helped these women manage their diabetes are referred to as

facilitators, which are adaptive strategies and coping skills. These included improved


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awareness or thinking, various types of supports, the role of past experiences, women's

spiritual or religious beliefs, and their adopting new strategies for care.

Improved awareness. The most influential factor individuals mentioned in large

part were that classes and experiences helped clear up misunderstandings, improve the

way they thought about self-care, and increase their general understanding of diabetes

self-care. This was evidenced by various individuals who acknowledged the importance

of having knowledge about their diabetes, and due to diabetes education class,

experiences at the doctor's office, and supplemental reading material, were better able

to manage their diabetes.

What helped me the most? Knowing about diabetes is the biggest thing,
you know, knowing the effect that diabetes can have on you, and um in
following the doctor's instructions in what I need to do to stay in control of
diabetes. (P13)

There is so much literature, and I think that sometimes knowledge helps
too, ah cause when I am experience something different, something may
well click in my mind. Well I read this, this may be a new phase in my
diabetes, ... but the reading material out there is great, and what is great
about it is that a lot of it is free [laughs], all you have to do is request it, or
whether it's in the doctor's office or its in the clinics or whatever, you just
pick it up and take it home and you just learn from that so that has helped a
great deal... in the last few years. Now I am more aware of the
sickness, more aware of the fact that I've got to work to live longer, it's just
not a given. (P1)

To a great extent, for most of these women obtaining this information made them

concentrate more on their diabetes. Many admitted that they did not incorporate a lot of

the information into their lives, but getting that information helped them know how to

tackle various concerns or problems they had managing their diabetes. In addition some

women indicated that they made good use of some of the information. For example, the

information they read, helped them consider alternative places to test their glucose


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levels, not just their fingers. Although not a strong motivator all the time, this information

helped them care for their diabetes somewhat better.

Support. Family members and friends, who might or might not have been

diabetic, all played a key role in helping the women manage their diabetes. The role the

women's grandchildren played was also important because many of the women felt that

living a long life for her family helped her care for her diabetes: "I want to live healthy

and I want to live a long life and I want to be around for my children and grandchildren."

(P5) In addition, losses of family members from diabetes had such an impact on them, it

influenced them to take better care of themselves.

It was kind of scary because my grandmother died of diabetes, and I know
the things she went through with diabetes, she lost one of her eyes, she lost
both of her legs, and it incapacitated her from doing the things that, you
know, she was use to doing, and I am just hoping that mine stay under
control and it wouldn't get to that point. I wouldn't want to lose a limb,
lose my eyesight, or nothing, and I think with the experience and with the
things that I knew about diabetes it helped me a lot to help myself with
diabetes. (P13)

Living diabetic family members also supported the women when they were first

diagnosed and subsequently impacted how they managed their T2DM. The following

quote demonstrates how one participant's husband really helped her deal with her

diabetes.

I had to bring my husband with me because they were going to explain to
us the proper things to eat, the proper ways to eat, just information that
would help us, the second day was more informational and I received my
um meter the second day, he didn't have to go with me the second day. I
mean, I learned a lot, it's probably been about 5, 6 years that I had, they
scheduled me within that month or two. (P12)

Another woman found support from her sister:

P: My sister [who had developed it a long time before she did], she knows a
lot about diabetes and everything. We talk a lot.
I: So how did she help you when you first got diabetes?


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P: She was constantly calling me. "Have you taken your meds? Are you
eating the right things? You got to do this, you got to do that." She still do it
right now. (P7 )

It was also notable that a few women mentioned how knowing they were helping

others provided support for them to deal with their diabetes and manage it better.

If I go out and do something for some body and stuff, and I come back, then
I feel good, as long as I feel good about myself, and, you know. I know I
done did good. I know I got to take care of myself because there is
somebody else out there that I got to go out there tomorrow, that I need to
go out be there and be there for, you understand, and I need to be there for
them, and I can't be down and I can't show them a negative side. I got to
show them a positive side, you know, and stuff, and if I'm worrying about
diabetes [it gets in the way]. (P5)

The role of family was very important to their self-care behaviors and levels of

awareness. This ultimately affected their desire to manage their own diabetes. What

was unclear was exactly how they followed through with these self-care activities, but it

was clear that the various channels of support, at the very least, proved encouraging

factors for engaging in beneficial self-care behaviors.

Past experiences. Past experiences seemed to help the women better manage

their diabetes because they remembered what their diabetic family member had to

endure and that motivated them to be proactive in their self-care or impelled them to

learn about diabetes and how to better manage their diabetes care:

Yeah, see, my mother was a diabetic, too. Shoot she wasn't education 'bout
stuff like they is now, back in them days. She had it so bad she used to end
up going into seizures and comas and stuff, so that's what happen when
you diabetic, you go through. She had one of her legs amputated, she went
blind, and that's what I'm saying. I know I got to do something, my eyes
getting so bad. This eye here hurting [points to eye], that's why I got to
make me an appointment. (P9)

I wouldn't want to lose a limb, lose my eyesight, or nothing, and I think with
the experience and with the things that I knew about diabetes, it helped,
helped me a lot to help myself with diabetes. (P13)


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I learned from [my mother] if you follow the guidelines, healthy eating,
timely eating, taking your prescribed medications, that you manage your
diabetes quite well. It doesn't really affect your life that much because it
becomes a part of a routine, and she adjusted well to the routine. So I
learned from her, but it didn't change my way of thinking about being a bit
resentful [even though] my mom was not resentful. It was just a part of her
health problems, and she was okay with it. She was okay with most things. I
don't like a lot of change like that. (P2)

Beliefs. Spiritual or religious beliefs helped the women not only concentrate on

dealing with their diabetes, but also influenced their day-to-day self-care practices. Their

beliefs helped participants control their dietary intake: "During the Lenten season, I gave

up adding salt to anything. I commissioned if it wasn't already added to the food when I

got it, then I had to eat it like that" (P2), or belief that they had to follow the doctor's

advice: "Sometimes you might get over it and, like, sometimes you might and

sometimes you might not. It just depends on how you take care of yourself and do what

the doctor say to." (P10) For many, the role of their belief system was instrumental in

helping them to better care for their diabetes:

You're right, number one is having faith in God. Because I could have been
lost, you know, and they say with wisdom comes understanding, and that's
what I pray for. God give me the wisdom to know what kind of disease I am
in and understanding what I need to do to take care of myself. (P6)

Adopting new strategies for care. Many women mentioned having to adopt new

strategies for self-care. These included establishing routines, following treatment

recommendations (or using folk medicine), and controlling their weight by modifying

their diet and increasing their exercise. They also cited having a positive attitude,

listening to their bodies, and following the guidelines for care. In addition, women tried

to remember their past experiences with diabetes and use those to currently manage

their condition:


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I watch what I eat and take my medicine, you know, and keep count of it
once a day and, you know, I do the finger stick once a day, and even it runs
low, in the morning when I do my fasting blood, I still take my medicine,
because that's my assurance of the day of what I eat that day...I watch very
carefully what I eat. (P1)

It's routine now. I know I have to, I like to eat when I want to eat. Diabetes
forces me to eat. I can't take medication on an empty stomach. And they
want me to be able to eat, like, small meals rather than eating a lot [in a few
meals]. (P2)

And sometimes I do when I can't hardly do and I push myself because I try
not to let it get me down. I want to get it down, but I don't want to let it get
me down. You live with it. You go through some changes and you try to do
the best that you can, and you live through it. You go through it. (P6)

The main thing? Watch your weight. If you keep your weight down, then
your sugar won't be no problem. (P4)

These strategies illustrate how women learned to monitor their glucose and diet,

eliminate bad habits, and recognize their limitations. Almost all the women had been

intimately acquainted with the loss of loved ones due to diabetes or had someone in

their family who suffered from diabetes. The impression the women had of past

experiences with people in their lives who had diabetes ultimately impacted their world

view of diabetes, which seemed to affect not only how they dealt with their diabetes, but

how each subsequently managed her condition.


Discussion

This section discusses the study findings in the context of the model for

understanding the crisis of a physical illness, the conceptual framework that framed the

present study. The findings illustrated that the women experienced an initial crisis and

subsequent acceptance or resistance to their chronic illness that the women ventured

through. The diabetes illness experience was considered a crisis to the women during

their lives. The women's transition through disequilibrium due to the crisis to find


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resolution, allows equilibrium to be reestablished (Moos, 1982). Hence, the crisis

experience evokes a turning point that may be either a healthy adaptation of personal

growth and maturation or a maladaptive response of psychological deterioration or

decline that impacts an individual's long-term ability to meet future crises (Moos, 1982).

For the current study, as found in previous research by Puavilai (1996), diabetes

was viewed as a chronic physical condition that caused crises in low income and low

literate African-American women's lives, particularly since, in large part, the changing

nature of their diabetes ultimately often resulted in disequilibrium or disorganization in

the lives of the women. In a similar light, a previous study showed that women,

described as good self managers by their providers, described their early time of

learning self-management as chaotic and very difficult (Ellison & Rayman, 1998). This

crisis period was evident in this sample of women, because many of the women reacted

in a maladaptive way to deal with their diabetes through denial or avoidance of their

condition. Hence this framework was appropriate for the majority of women in this study.

The embedded correlational design allowed for exploration of the conceptual

framework. This allowed for different sets of research questions to be answered using

the information gleaned from the participants in both the qualitative and quantitative

data sets. Therefore, different applications to various parts of the conceptual framework

(the model of understanding the crisis of a physical illness) were examined. The

conceptual framework was modified and had three overarching categories: precursors,

skills and experience, and outcomes.

The precursors are the first category in the model. Precursors are the Background

and Personal Characteristics Illness-related factors, and the Physical and Social


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Environmental factors. The second category, Skills and Experience, includes cognitive

appraisal, coping, and adaptive tasks. The outcome was the third category and for this

study included diabetes knowledge and self-care activities. From precursors, women

with diabetes obtain particular skills and experiences that equip them to live with their

chronic condition and have certain outcomes, suggesting a continuous linear flow from

precursors to skills and experiences to outcomes, as suggested by Moos (1982). The

following section discusses the research findings within the context of the proposed

theoretical framework of the study and the research literature. Each category of the

framework is used as a heading to discuss the study findings. For each category,

implications and suggestions for future research are presented. Limitations,

methodological issues and a summary follow.

Background and Personal, Illness-Related, Physical
and Social Environmental Factors, and Skills and Experience

Background and Personal Factors

This study selected factors established by Moos (1982) that were pertinent to the

research. These included age, gender, and socioeconomic status (measured by

income level) Moo's sociodemographic factor (measured by income level and level of

education achieved) was associated with the knowledge of T2DM scores. As the

Silverman, Smola, and Musa (2000) study suggested, health is a multidimensional

construct and, as such, may be more connected to an individual's total life experiences

than would be a designation of not healthy. Religious beliefs, previous illnesses, and

coping experiences highlighted from the qualitative findings, help illustrate the

multidimensional construct of health, specifically diabetes, as it related to African-

American women with T2DM in this study.


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Non-significant correlations were found between SKILLD scores and (1) the two

income variables: personal income (rho = 0.24) and total household income (rho =

0.21); (2) length of time with diabetes (rho = -0.11); and (3) glycemic control with

diabetes (r = 0.17). In past studies, higher reported knowledge scores had significant

associations with higher incomes, longer duration of diabetes, and better glycemic

control (Rothman, 2005). Furthermore, previous research (Nath, 2007) indicated that

duration of disease may be a strong predictor of metabolic control. Hence, it was

anticipated that African-American women living with T2DM for a shorter period of time

would be less knowledgeable about their diabetes. The research findings indicated no

such association, so this finding is not consistent with the literature and does not align

with the anticipated result that significant correlations would be found. Small sample

size and other factors connected to this particular population could be the reason for

these findings. Further information and explanations from the qualitative study may help

to explain this inconsistency in the findings when compared with the previous studies.

Unlike the quantitative results that showed no association between, for example,

duration of time with diabetes and knowledge scores, the qualitative findings suggest

the need to consider length of time with diabetes. In the study, participants had had

diabetes for anywhere from 1to 32 years, so it is evident, to some degree, that when

reflecting on past experiences regarding when they were initially diagnosed, the women

in the study admitted their past inadequate self-care behaviors. They indicated that they

did not adapt initially and that, had they acted differently from the very beginning, they

would be in a healthier condition today. For example, some indicated that they would


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not have had to have a leg amputated or go through laser surgery because of their

failing eyesight.

As these women over time became more cognizant of their misconceptions about

diabetes, they indicated that, had they not reacted to their diagnosis of diabetes initially

by avoidance and denial, they would not have been ineffective in their self-care

practices and had such serious consequences. One quote that best illustrates the

realization that the women had later in life is:

What you are really working on [regarding diabetes], is you're fighting to
live, and you can't start that fight anytime you get ready because diabetes
has already started, so when it started then you have to start and you have
to go all the way. (P1)

Many of the women came to this realization, however, after a lifetime of

consequences due to lack of self-care. It is imperative, therefore, that as health

educators we advocate to reach more of these women at the key juncture in their life,

when they are first diagnosed. It is important for collaborative efforts between public

health, psychology, and health education practitioners to better target the

misconceptions and inadequate understanding of diabetes for African-American

women, particularly when they are first diagnosed, typically in a clinical setting.

A second observation, from the question on duration of time with diabetes was that

the women reported that, because they had had diabetes for a long period of time, they

forgot the information previously taught to them in diabetes classes they had had

earlier. Further, participants indicated that they had not had a refresher course due to

current financial constraints or other competing priorities in their life, such as caring for

their grandchildren. Hence, women need access to more diabetes education resources


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throughout their lives with diabetes to act as constant reminders about their ongoing

diabetes self-care efforts.

Additionally, the importance of duration of time with diabetes was evident in those

women who displayed an unwillingness to engage in self-care behaviors when they

were first diagnosed with diabetes, because their initial response was denial. Some

participants, for example, refused to take their medication due to misconceptions and

used folk medicine such as aloe vera as an alternative. Other women expressed their

frustration with treatment, when they were first diagnosed, since they felt they were not

getting the care they needed from their provider because they felt stereotyped as a

"typical diabetic" or they did not feel that their concerns were being addressed by their

practitioner. Ultimately, the women's reactions when they were first diagnosed impacted

their subsequent self-care behaviors.

Funnel and Anderson (2003) suggested the need for more information and in-

home guidance for diabetics, especially because of the serious and chronic nature of

diabetes, the complexity of its management, and the multiple daily self-care decisions

that diabetes requires (Funnell & Anderson, 2003). Their study, similar to the current

study suggests the urgent nature of helping the newly diagnosed adjust to their new life

in general. In this regard, being adherent to a predetermined care program is generally

not enough to manage diabetes over the course of a person's life (Funnell & Anderson,

2003). It is therefore imperative as a public health initiative to start filling the system

gaps that would help African-American women diabetics, within their communities to get

this consistent, flexible care throughout their lifetime.


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Another background and personal factor that the women made reference to was

the role of their spiritual beliefs as a supportive agent for changing their lifestyles to

employ better self-care practices. Many of the women were recruited from churches

with a predominantly high African-American congregation. All the women expressed

having a strong faith in God and the important role that God played in their lives to help

them not only acknowledge their diabetes, but also to engage in appropriate self-care

activities. For example, one participant summed it up best: "You're right, number one is

having faith in God. Because I could have been lost. God give me the wisdom to

know what kind of disease I am in and understanding what I need to do to take care of

myself" (P6).

Community access for interventions has to increasingly consider the church when

promoting self-care efforts, because this study, like previous research, (Rahim Williams,

2004) further justifies the important role a belief in God plays as a strong facilitator of

self-care behaviors. Hence, interventions for self-care behaviors within the community

may need to find better ways to incorporate a spiritual component in their process of

self-care with this target population. By tapping into all the avenues in the community,

including the churches, women may have more opportunities to attend education

classes for support channels for diabetes despite their competing priorities.

Traditionally, the success of patients in managing their diabetes has been judged

by their ability to adhere to a prescribed therapeutic regimen. Unfortunately, this

approach does not match the reality of diabetes care because many of the women

indicated competing priorities and job demands. Diabetes self-care needs to also be

flexible and consistent. Despite attempts to encourage, cajole, and persuade patients to


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perform self-care tasks, practitioner frustrations mount when patients are unwilling or

unable to follow advice to achieve desired outcomes (Funnell & Anderson, 2003).

In addition, pertaining to the coping experiences, another observation from the

qualitative study was that timing of an illness in the life cycle of the woman with diabetes

was considered to be of interest in this study. The qualitative findings also found that

participants diagnosed with the disease later in life seemed to move to acceptance far

quicker than those who were diagnosed early in life. Also, participants drew from past

experiences to cope with the illness that threatened their life goals and established

roles, as Moos and Tsu (1977) and Moos (1982) suggested. What was notable was that

individuals who mentioned that they utilized past experiences in the qualitative study did

not always do so positively. For example, some accepted the role they played for their

family members who had diabetes, but resented, felt frustrated by or avoided their new

role as the one having diabetes. However, for the most part, the women used the

experiences positively to impact current self-care behaviors. With the increasing number

of younger women diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative to reach these women to

help them adjust to life with their diabetes from the very beginning.

The conceptual framework was modified to include measuring only length of time

with diabetes or duration of disease and glycemic control. However, the original tenets

of the framework presented by Moos & Tsu (1977) and Moos (1982) also promoted the

idea that different organs and functions may have a psychological significance not

pertaining to the biological factors related to survival. For example, loss of an eye from

diabetes may have more psychological significance than a severe diabetic

hyperglycemic crisis that, if left untreated, may directly threaten life. The qualitative


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findings also, to a great extent, corroborated Moos' original illness factor in that, for

many of the women, loss of their kidney function and having to go on dialysis was such

a negative factor it became a motivating catalyst for their self-care activities. However,

the significance of the different body parts as suggested by Moos (1982) was not

explored in this study and could be an area for future research to explore.

Physical and Social Environmental Factors

These factors, specifically the aesthetic surroundings, the amount of personal

space available, and the degree of sensory stimulation that may influence a person's

cognitive functioning, mood, and general morale (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982), was

beyond the scope of this research. This truncated section was addressed because the

qualitative findings in large part dealt with the role of the family in dealing with diagnosis

and managing diabetes. In his framework, Moos (1982) suggested the importance of

the role of the relationships of patients and their families, features of the work setting,

social supports in the wider community, and sociocultural norms and expectations.

Findings were reported whereby the role of family was illustrated by the qualitative

findings in large part.

As in previous research that used a similar conceptual framework (Pauvaili, 1996),

family support was a key sociocultural consideration. For instance, for the women in the

study, the role of family or other support had a positive or negative impact on whether

they exercised (Carter-Edwards, Skelly, Cagle, and Appel, 2004). In a 2004 study that

evaluated the relationship of perceived social support to diabetes self-management,

Carter-Edwards and colleagues, found that participants described family and friend

support networks as not understanding their needs and providing negative or non-health


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promoting advice. This was corroborated in the current study findings when women

reported that:

I can still do some things, my mama has got to the point where, I go to her
house, she won't let me do anything, you know what I mean, "We don't
want your diabetes to kick up." Well you know, that's because they don't
quite understand how it works, they want you to be less active, when you
should be more active and they don't understand that. (P1)

It was also evident from the findings that not having family or other support

impacts their inactivity regarding exercise for their diabetes self-care. This is best

illustrated in the following quote, which indicates that not having support accounted for

her lack of engaging in diabetes self-care activities despite her knowledge that exercise

was important for her diabetes self-management:

Probably get it would be nice if I had a partner that I could go walking with.
You know that's exercise, I got a daughter and granddaughter that stay
home with me, they don't do nothing with me .... I don't have no friends
here, I don't have no one to walk with me, it would be nice if I got someone
to walk with me, because I can't push myself, I ain't got that energy to get
up and do it on my own and that's the only way I can do it besides
medicine, and just learn how to exercise. I don't go to an exercise class
because it costs money. (P8)

From the findings, most of the women had been intimately acquainted with the

loss of loved ones due to diabetes or had had someone in their family who suffered with

diabetes, which led to the strong culture of caring for others for these diabetic women.

Previous studies, such as Skelly and colleagues (2005), described the development and

validation of a new multiple care-giving (MC) measure and examined how familial care-

giving related to family composition and psychosocial factors among older African-

American women with T2DM. Both MC role and MC barrier scores were positively

associated with putting the family's needs first, difficulty saying "No" to family, and the

number of adults living in the household. MC-barriers were associated negatively with


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quality of life, and positively with stress, barriers to diabetes self-care, and negative

perceptions of diabetes competence. In a multivariate model, age and difficulty saying

"No" to family seeking help were significant independent predictors of MC-barriers. Both

the current study and previous studies therefore suggest that a better understanding of

African-American women with diabetes in the context of family and care-giving roles

may be important to identifying culturally meaningful strategies to improve self-care

behaviors (Samuel-Hodge, Skelly, Headen, and Carter-Edwards, 2005).

This sociocultural factor of the role of family emerged and increased or decreased

family involvement and impacted self-care activities was evident in the qualitative

findings. However, future research needs to focus primarily on other dimensions for this

sociocultural family component, not only within the context of the conceptual framework,

but to also find ways to improve the measurement of sociocultural variables that affect

self-care practices in minority populations.

Social factors, education and public access, for example, still play a significant role

in health outcomes with sociocultural and behavioral lifestyle issues being highly

correlated with disparities (Ashley, 1999). For these women with diabetes, there was a

strong culture of caring for others. This culture of caring for others has major

implications for health educators. As grandparents, these women will in turn care for the

third generation, and if they pass on a legacy of bad eating habits and other lifestyle

traits that are risk factors for diabetes, then the cyclical trend of obesity and incidence

and prevalence of diabetes will continue to disproportionately affect these women and

their descendants.


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The literature on diabetes and behavioral change emphasizes the importance of

understanding an individual's cultural beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions, because these

factors are also important determinants of the ways in which people with diabetes

behave with respect to their self-care (Maillet, D'Eramo, Melkus & Spollett, 1996; Skelly,

et al., 2000). An individual's religious beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions played a key

role in how they dealt with and managed their diabetes. These attitudes, beliefs, and

perceptions that either stagnated care or fostered care. It is therefore imperative that

prevention of worsening conditions and promotion of ongoing care are a constant focus

for improving the system. Further, since limited research addresses the unique needs

of sicker patients from their perspectives (Mason et al, 2002), this study is particularly

important because it examines the experiences of a very specific vulnerable segment

of people with poor health status.

In addition, other important sociocultural norms pertaining to the stigma of

excessive weight, were also evident. Most women indicated that one difficulty they

faced was that they felt others were prejudiced against them, particularly at work, and

that they had to deal with this during their life experience with diabetes, as was

indicated in the following quote:

I've seen how I've treated other people when they were diabetic. I think that
it has been to my benefit not to tell them. I worked on this job on a
temporary basis at first and I do believe that they would have hesitated in
hiring me if they had known that I was a chronic diabetic, you know there
other women in the office who are diabetic, so the word is talked about a lot
so, it's thrown around a lot .... I think that made them wonder, or hesitate a
little bit more, despite the fact that I probably was doing a good job and my
first evaluation was outstanding. So despite that, I think it would have
prejudiced them against me a little bit to know that I was a diabetic, so ...
I think that it was a good idea to withhold that, ah on other jobs that I have
had. (P2)


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The need to control weight to manage their diabetes was an issue that all the

women raised. However, weight was also considered by the women in a sociocultural

context. For instance, at one participant's health provider's office, she called the black

nurse to reinforce her belief that she could not lose too much weight because she felt

that her community would feel that she was on crack or had AIDS. This particular

incident was expressed by one individual, but the general sentiment among the

participants was the role of friends and family in helping or hindering them with their

weight issues; some felt childhood lessons followed through to adulthood. The lesson

here is that health educators have to increasingly advocate for improved coverage of

targeted classes and social support groups guided by individuals who can identify and

correct misconceptions and improve self-care practices based on the context they have

to consider.

In addition to the sociocultural, the book by Liburd (2010) Diabetes and Health

disparities, as an alternative, suggests that to understand and respond to the escalating

burden of T2DM among minority populations in the US, a socio-ecological approach

needs to be adapted. This approach argues that to move beyond clinical interventions in

high risk populations, you must identify the key role of the socioeconomic condition that

shape population health, examine the cumulative risks for illness across the lifespan,

and understand to a greater extent the social and psychological conditions interacting

with biological mechanisms to cause disease (Berkman & Lochner, 2002; Liburd, 2010).

This is an important consideration for the current theoretical framework, the model for

understanding the crisis of a physical illness that aims to capture many of the

dimensions of the socio-ecological approach. Further, employing a mixed methods


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study helped to assess various strengths of the model in its consideration of the socio-

ecological approach.

Therefore, future research needs to examine the model for the crisis of a physical

illness when considering not only the sociocultural aspects of diabetes care and

intervention, but also the process of learning to manage diabetes self-care. More needs

to be done, therefore, regarding examining how and to what extent the socioecologic

domains are all accounted for within the context of a crisis of a physical illness

framework, particularly because the framework proposes a continuum of

crisis/disruption and possibly refine the context for further exploration of sociocultural

variables to better explore the process of learning to self manage diabetes. Only a

limited number of studies focusing on the patient's view reveal the process nature of

learning to self-care their diabetes (Rayman & Ellison, 2004; Ellison & Rayman, 1998;

Hernandez, 1995; Price, 1993).

Further, though the human environment component was not measured using the

quantitative knowledge scale, it was addressed because the qualitative findings in large

part dealt with the role of the family in dealing with diagnosis and managing diabetes.

Particularly because limited evidence indicates that improvements in the social

environment are directly associated with decreases in the incidence of T2DM (Liburd,

2010 p. 5), the human environment section provided pilot data to consider in future

studies regarding the social environmental factors impacting diabetes self-management.

Skills and Experience

Skills and experience is the second component of the model and includes

appraisal and activation, major adaptive tasks, and major types of coping skills. This

section was primarily addressed qualitatively. Moos (1982) indicated that collectively the


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factors influence one another and affect the self-management skills and experience of a

person.

For this study, the skills and experience category was best served by categorizing

them as influential factors based on the findings from the qualitative data that illustrate

how the women dealt with their diagnosis of diabetes and their self-care behaviors. A

key suggestion would be to modify the framework as it pertains to influential factors.

This would capture a more interactive process flow of the dynamics of lives of the

women with diabetes. In general, the African-American women's experience with

diabetes fell into two broad categories, dealing with the diagnosis of T2DM and

management of T2DM, with a number of consistent and unique factors influencing both

categories. Dealing with the diagnosis was captured by sections such as reactions and

influential factors. Reactions to diabetes took the forms of denial, avoidance, or

acceptance. These factors clustered around the women's perceived long-term

consequences, past experiences, level of awareness or understanding or

misunderstanding of their condition, seminal events, and support. Management of

T2DM was also organized by the women's descriptions or experiences regarding

difficulties or barriers to self-care. The facilitators were generally adaptive tasks and

learning coping skills for health care.

Cognitive appraisal. This is defined as the way in which the potential stressor is

perceived, and may or may not be a mediating factor. Activation or arousal occurs when

the environment is appraised as necessitating a response that fosters efforts to adapt

and cope that are directed at the perceived adaptive tasks (Moos, 1982). The nature of

these tasks is affected by the meaning of illness, by personal factors, and by the


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selection of relevant coping skills that are influenced by environmental factors. The

result of adaptation and coping may affect the outcome of the crisis (Moos, 1982). Only

the perceived meaning of the cognitive appraisal process was explored in this study.

The women's perceived meaning of diabetes was that they defined diabetes as a

type of illness or as something related to blood sugar, or they defined it based on

consequences, as was seen from the qualitative findings. For this study, the individual's

perceived meaning of diabetes was a key factor giving great insight into how they

experienced diabetes that is how they dealt with their diagnosis and managed their

condition.

Past research indicates personal evaluation of health is a complex process not

fully understood (Idler, 1999; Silverman, Smola, & Musa, 2000), and the cognitive

process of assessing one's health changes as factors in one's illness change

(Silverman, Smola, & Musa, 2000). This may shed light on factors that contributed to

the women's many and disparate recommendations to others regarding self-care, but

found it difficult to manage their own diabetes. They admitted that diabetes was a

complex process that required more resources, more support channels, or better

treatment.

Adaptive tasks. The findings indicate that this section, which falls under skills and

experience, could be considered in conjunction with some of the precursor factors. For

example, the length of time with diabetes can have adaptive skills (general and illness

adaptive tasks) affiliated. The illness tasks include coping with symptoms, their

environment and treatment procedures, and their relationship maintenance with

healthcare staff.


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General tasks include being able to preserve (a) reasonable emotional balance,

(b) satisfactory self image and sense of competence and mastery, (c) relationships with

family and friends, and (d) preparation for an uncertain future (Moos, 1982). Individuals

mentioned some of these domains, but future research needs to explore each to obtain

a better sense of the role these play in the illness experience and in helping successful

adaption of self-care behaviors.

Coping skills. According to the model, coping skills include mental and behavioral

components that are viewed as positive and teachable. Coping skills include seven

adaptive tasks typically used: (1) denying or minimizing the seriousness of the crisis; (2)

seeking information about the illness, treatment procedures, and probable outcomes;

(3) learning specific illness-related procedures such as giving self insulin injections or

running a home dialysis machine; (4) maintaining a regular routine and setting concrete

limited goals; (5) managing self-presentation and ability to request needed reassurance

and support; (6) preparing self mentally and rehearse potential alternative outcomes;

and (7) finding a general purpose or pattern of meaning in the course of events. Moos

(1982) indicated that these can and may be used individually, consecutively, or in

various combinations, and this became evident as the study data was collected and

analyzed. For example, looking at a participant's life experiences with diabetes, we saw

the process of acceptance that occurred after denial. Subsequent reliance on family for

encouragement, for example, was evident in the findings.

The women's experience and perceptions self organized into two distinct

categories and were affected by a number of consistent and unique factors influencing

both categories. When they were first diagnosed, the majority of the participants,


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perceived diabetes to mean a type of illness "causing death," and the majority of women

reacted with denial and avoidance. Those who initially denied or avoided their condition

disregarded their condition until diabetes caused some serious consequences in their

lives in the form of a seminal event; their misconceptions about diabetes led to

inadequate understanding of the necessity of treatment.

The women's experiences had a common denominator: their journey to

acceptance and the highs and lows associated with trying to walk the intricate path of

diabetes self-care. At the dates of the interviews, all participants accepted their

condition and were in the process of caring for their diabetes. In sum, few participants

initially accepted their diagnosis and were proactive in their self-care. Over time,

surmounting various barriers to self-care through education and experience, their initial

fears were assuaged and their beliefs modified, particularly with regard to diabetes

meaning "death." Hence, many of the women recognized that if properly self managed,

they could live a long life with diabetes and were currently proactive in their self-care.

Most of the women found a general purpose to their diabetes in that they did their

self-care activities and tried to help others so that they could be around for their

grandchildren. Combined, these two components, precursors (background and personal

factors, illness related factors, physical and social environmental factors) and skills and

experiences (cognitive appraisal, adaptive tasks, coping skills) determined the outcome

of the crisis, how individuals cared for their diabetes, and their knowledge level (Moos &

Tsu, 1977).

That the participants found a general purpose or pattern of meaning in the course

of events was evident. The women's hope of living, not only for themselves but for their


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loved ones, encouraged them to endure the journey of living with diabetes. Those who

denied it, suffered long-term consequences associated with not caring for their diabetes,

then later recognized their folly and belatedly engaged in self-care behaviors. This path

is best captured in the following quote:

Well now, what helps me to really try and encourage me to try and do better
is, I have three kids that need me, I need to be healthier for myself, and
then I have 3 kids that I adopted and that need me to be there for them, and
I can't be there for them if I don't take care of myself, and I have a sick
husband that also depends on me, so I got to take care of me in order to
take care of any of them so I got to take care of me in order to take care of
any of them, and I don't want to end up having to go through dialysis and all
this other stuff that could happen to you with when your diabetes is not
being taken care of. (P11)

In addition, this woman resolved to not allow diabetes to affect her psyche and she

was going to deal with it:

you just take it and just go and do what you got to do to maintain yourself,
you can do it and don't let it get you down, because if you get in that
depressed mood, and it can really take you down fast if you don't really do
what you have to do .. so I wouldn't let it get me depressed because if
the cancer didn't get me depressed I definitely wasn't going to let diabetes.

There were various facilitators that fostered better self-care behaviors. The various

components presented by Moos in 1982 were comprehensive and a study focused

solely on these factors could be augmented by considering the hope the women had for

living as another component to add to the coping and adapting process. Allowing the

bottom up data approach in this analysis was important as this allowed for new factors

to emerge, as opposed to imposing the established categories by Moos on the data. In

addition, it may be important to consider domains from other studies. For example Hill-

Briggs (2003) proposed a problem-solving model of chronic disease self-management

that had four essential components of problem-solving skill from the proposed model of

problem solving of chronic disease self-management: problem-solving skills, orientation,


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disease specific knowledge, and transfer of past experience. In addition, the study

findings revealed the importance of the final domain, the transfer of past experience,

which impacted the women in positive and negative ways. This would therefore be an

important construct to considering adding for this section, but future research is needed

to explore each of these suggestions further to better map out the possibilities how they

interact and impact each other within the context of the model for understanding the

crisis of a physical illness framework.

Outcomes: Diabetes Knowledge and Self-Care Activities

The outcomes for the conceptual framework, diabetes knowledge and self-care,

are discussed next. In addition to the continuous flow from precursors to skills and

experiences to outcomes as suggested by Moos (1982) these findings also warrant

tracking not only a continuous flow forward, but also a loop backward throughout the

framework. For example, as found in previous studies as Pauvali (1996), women

perceived different information at different times and repeatedly interpreted that

information. Because of this, repeated interpretation, may emerge as a background

factor based on a woman's reassessment, acceptance, and use of information,

outcome variables such as knowledge, For example, with diabetes knowledge as the

outcome variable, it was observed that it could also be included as a precursor variable

based on the qualitative findings that suggested that they had limited knowledge to

begin with out with that later improved and impacted how they processed their diabetes

and adapted. Later we see how the improved knowledge they currently had could again

be placed in the precursor section as a background factor from which to start the flow

through the framework again, suggesting a continuous loop from one to the other then

back to the original factor.


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The knowledge individuals initially had about diabetes was very different from the

knowledge they gained after skills and experience were obtained. In essence, based on

the findings, it was evident that there was no linear progression. Various factors that

were thought to play a role later on in the process flow seem to emerge earlier. Hence it

was not static, particularly when accounting for the dynamic lives of women with

diabetes which illuminate which the components do not always flow in one specific

order or rate.

Diabetes Knowledge

Previous studies stratified the SKILLD knowledge scores into two categories >50%

for high knowledge and <50% for low knowledge about diabetes (Rothman et al., 2005).

The study found that 55.8 % of the participants had high knowledge, while 44.2% had

low knowledge. It had been anticipated that participants would have low knowledge

about their diabetes as was true in previous studies (Rothman et al, 2005). The

women's demographics found that 61.5% of the women had had some form of diabetes

education class or had been taught by their doctor about diabetes. This may account for

why the women in this study had higher than the average knowledge levels.

The reality of the findings, however, is that stratifying an individual's knowledge

score according to certain cut-off points does not represent the entire picture, since

44.2% had low knowledge in this study. Further, previous studies indicated that both

limited literacy and limited health literacy are prevalent among most patients with

diabetes, and are associated with poorer knowledge about the illness and its

complications, worse glycemic control, and higher rates of retinopathy (Powell et al,

2007). Though the stratification was set at the midpoint, in Rothman and colleagues

study, where anything above the midpoint was deemed to be high knowledge, higher


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standards for knowledge levels need to be achieved for African-American women,

especially because it is well established, particularly in the health education literature,

that knowledge does not translate to behavioral change. It is therefore also important to

note that despite the fact that, for this study, the majority of participants fell in the high

knowledge category, (Rothman et al., 2005) the qualitative findings in part indicated

how knowledge helped some but also hurt others. Knowledge hurt the women because

of past experiences with loss that tainted their view of someone with diabetes, so it

rendered them inactive regarding self-care. In a different light, knowledge helped some

individuals because past misconceptions were altered by new knowledge and they

came to the realization that they could live a long and productive life if they effectively

managed their diabetes. However, positive findings indicate that comprehensive

diabetes management programs, with educational strategies appropriate to low-literate

patients, were of greater benefit to patients with low literacy than those with higher

literacy (Rothman, et al., 2004).

The quantitative study indicated that participants had high knowledge of diabetes

and the qualitative study revealed possible factors that accounted for this. First, many of

the women had had diabetes for a long period of time or had relatives or friends who

had diabetes. Further, the results show the majority of women in this study had diabetes

education classes. Hence, past experiences coupled with more diabetes self-care

education could also have accounted for this finding. For example, the women

specifically indicated that their knowledge was gleaned through various life experiences

with diabetes, and at the time of their interviews many of the women had had diabetes

for an average 9 years with a range of 1 to 32 years.


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Despite the high knowledge that women reported they had, they indicated that it

was not until certain factors regarding past experiences or seminal events occurred that

they used this knowledge for themselves as a motivator for better self-care of their

condition. Influential factors may have included such seminal events as loss of a family

member or friend to diabetes, overcoming certain fears, or experiencing debilitating

physical conditions due to long-term consequences of poor self-care such as

complications associated with not monitoring diabetes or just denying their condition

because of the stigma or difficulty of accepting their condition.

Individual women's perceived meaning of diabetes was a key factor in how they

integrated it into the context of their lives. Most women initially perceived diabetes to

mean "causing death," and many of those women subsequently reacted to this

perception with denial and avoidance. For those who initially denied or avoided their

condition, they distanced themselves from their diabetes and disregarded their condition

until the diabetes caused some serious consequences in their lives in the form of a

seminal event. The women's experiences had a common denominator; their eventual

journey to acceptance and the highs and lows associated with trying to walk the intricate

path of diabetes self-care.

Ellison & Rayman (1998) showed that women, identified as good self managers by

their providers, described their early time of learning self-management as chaotic and

very difficult. In a similar light, Rayman and Ellison (2004) qualitatively described the

early experiences and day-by-day reality of learning to self-manage T2DM among

women in an intensive control program; they identified some of the reasons for their

difficulties and that understanding and early timing of successful self-management as


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necessary to the design and timing of positive intervention management. This study

confirms this finding and also recognizes that priority needs to be given to this learning

and accepting, early in the disease process for African-American women with T2DM.

Further, interspersed with their lack of knowledge and the difficult adjustment after initial

diagnosis, the concept of fatalism needs to be considered as a possible factor that may

have been affecting these women when they were first diagnosed. Minimizing their

condition because they were not aware of the potential severity of diabetes was not a

factor for the women in this study, since all had had experience with someone who was

either severely affected by diabetes or died as a consequence of the disease. More

credence could therefore be given to the women having fatalistic attitudes. Fatalism is

characterized by perceptions of hopelessness, worthlessness, meaninglessness,

powerlessness, and social despair (Egede & Bonadonna, 2003). Although not well

characterized as a barrier to effective self-management for African-Americans, fatalism

appears to contribute to ineffective diabetes self-care and poor outcomes for this

population (Egede & Bonadonna, 2003). Thus it is not a stretch to suggest the need for

future research to explore whether the impact of the initial phase for women who were

diagnosed with diabetes may be caused by perceiving diabetes to be a result of

fatalistic perceptions that consequently limits diabetes self-management care practices.

The study's findings indicate that although many women started out with a possible

fatalistic approach, most ultimately decided to better care for their diabetes. It is

important to also consider the role of depression (Jack, 2010), as a reaction to a

diagnosis of diabetes.


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Evans (2003) noted that according to some social epidemiologists education has

been proposed to equip individuals with the means to become people who gain control

of their health by developing healthy lifestyle that help to mediate the association

between health and education. Further, previous research has identified the

associations between educational attainment and health behaviors that are particularly

important in diabetes (Karter, Stevens, Brown, Duru, Gregg, Gary, et al., 2007). Karter

and colleagues (2007) focused on educational disparities in diabetes-related health

behaviors. They found that patients with less education had significantly lower predicted

probabilities of adapting health-seeking behaviors, being a non-smoker, and engaging

in regular exercise.

Further, various unhealthy behaviors and psychological states have been

associated with poor childhood conditions inadequate education, blue-collar

employment, and financial barriers (Murray, Salomon, Mathers and Lopez, 2002).

Health education is a prerequisite for effective self-management of diabetes, but

previous research corroborates that knowledge does not necessarily predict outcomes.

Therefore, in populations that have large knowledge deficits, even a small increase in

knowledge may contribute to improved self-care (Nath, 2007). The study's findings

which refuted the null hypothesis because there was a positive significant correlation

(rho = 0.24) between SKILLD scores and the year of education. Hence, participants with

more years of education were more likely to have better knowledge about diabetes.

Increased years of education equipped individuals with key information that made

resources not only accessible, but how to obtain that information more accessible.

Consequently, in the qualitative findings, individuals with increased education levels


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noted that they sought information, constantly read literature about diabetes, went to

ongoing diabetes classes. These individuals also expressed diabetes self-management

as an intricate task that involved a number of variables, while those who were less

educated were not as enthusiastic or motivated to seek for future knowledge about

diabetes, or they did not feel that diabetes care was a struggle; they were more

concerned with doing what they needed to do to which primarily was taking their

medication and altering their diet and having to follow rules and all that entailed.

The findings also suggest, with regard to clinical practice, more attention be paid in

the form of resources geared toward women at the initial stages of their disease. This

may mean increased numbers of health educators and counselors to do initial

assessments, which should include lifestyle, as well as knowledge, to help better serve

the individual. In 2007 the American Association of Diabetes Educators stated that

diabetes education had seven self-care behaviors that are essential for improved health

status and quality of life. They are healthy eating, being active, glucose monitoring,

taking medications, problem solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks. However,

factors that contribute to the gap between actual delivery and use of these skills need to

be further explored, identified, and improved. For health educators, this may also mean

ensuring that these assessments are in sync with pertinent theory, such as the

Transtheoretical Stages of Change model (Prochaska, Redding, & Evers, 2002, p.100),

to make sure that these assessments help tap into the dimensions necessary to solicit

relevant information. Future research could also look into various assessments to

ensure that they capture the relevant information needed from these women so that

health educators, clinicians can better serve them.


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This study explored some of this target population's experiences with their

diabetes, and their self-care practices. The participants listed some treatment concerns,

but gaps were also evident to the researcher regarding why more is not being done to

implement the transfer of healthcare system education to practical use by the patients.

More attention needs to be focused on the period right after diagnosis. Diagnosis

sensitivity training, where clinicians develop support systems within their practices to

better deal with the misconceptions, fears, depression, and fatalistic views that

individuals recently diagnosed with diabetes may have. Though hospitals may be

equipped with social workers, health educators, ministers, and counselors, you need a

multidisciplinary team to help an individual recently diagnosed deal with her diabetes.

In addition, it was evident that not all women take advantage of the diabetes

education classes or information told to them or given to them by their doctors. Further,

some women fall through the system once they are diagnosed; this was demonstrated

by the 44.2% that had low knowledge about their diabetes. The findings suggest,

therefore, that in addition to classes, perhaps the system needs assessments to gauge

their readiness to accept their diagnosis, and their readiness to learn. There are a

number of potential intervention points for health educators. Thus there is value for

clinical practices to consider using this study as a pilot for understanding the importance

of intervening from the very beginning and following up, waiting until the participant

goes through some crisis or seminal event to bring her to that point. It is clear that

education classes and doctors' advice were considered by the study participants, but

this was not sufficient to sustain long lasting change.


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Diabetes self-care activities help prevent severe long-term consequences and may

ultimately improve quality of life. It is evident from the findings in this study that, far more

often than not, women with diabetes wait until they are affected physically in part before

they seek treatment as can be seen from the following quote:

I have retina disease in my eyes, that is the down that is a downfall, of the
diabetes because I wasn't taking care of the diabetes the way I was
suppose to. So that's nobody's faults but mine. As long as I do what I
suppose to do for the diabetes, then I wouldn't have these faults, like you
know a heart attack, a little mild stroke. Right now I never had high blood
pressure, but now I have high blood pressure ... if I'd a start from when
they first diagnosed me with the diabetes, of taking the pills, exercising,
eating right, doing what I want, doing what I suppose to do ... I wouldn't a
had these things. (P4)

Diabetes Knowledge and Self-care Activities

The findings of this study, specifically showed that SDSCA-specific diet were

positively correlated (r = 0.28) and were significant. This means that if an individual had

higher knowledge scores, they were more likely to also have better specific diets that

included fruits and vegetables and avoidance of high fat foods and full-fat dairy

products. SKILLD scores and SDSCA-foot care were also positively correlated (rho =

0.40) and were significant. The results showed that participants who tended to engage

in self-care activities for foot care during the last seven days by checking their feet and

inspecting the inside of their shoes had more knowledge about diabetes than their

counterparts. The findings from this study refuted the null hypothesis that participants

would have no associations between level of knowledge about diabetes and their self-

care activities for foot care and specific diet.

Donahoe and colleagues (2000), when evaluating a model of diabetes, integrated

foot care in a randomized control trial, and also found that patients in the intervention

group who had foot exams, and received foot care education found these useful. The


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qualitative results from that study also indicated that women not only had good

knowledge about their foot care but were likely to engage in foot care, as many

participants indicated taking better care of their feet.

Other findings from the Gale and colleagues (2008) qualitative study, which

explored beliefs about diabetic foot complications and everyday foot self-care practices

among people with T2DM found that most participants were unsure of what a foot

ulcer was and unaware of the difficulties associated with ulcer healing. Prevention of

accidental damage to the skin was not considered a priority, as few participants knew

that this is a common cause of foot ulceration. In the current study, however, though

foot ulceration was not the specific term used the participants were both quantitatively

and qualitatively aware of the importance of preventing accidental damage to the skin

regarding foot care, in large part to prevent foot amputation. The points regarding foot

care are illustrated in the following:

I told you about my best friend, who dead and gone now. She never
watched her sugar. She knows she had it and she knows it was serious, but
sometimes I wonder if she ever realized how serious it could be, you know
cause the way you treat yourself .... like I saw her walk around with no
shoes on and bumping and stumping your feet up against furniture and
going on. You know you just can't do that. You have to be more careful.
You have to be very careful ... but you just don't go around taking chances
like that and if you do happen to hurt yourself, your hand or your feet, you
need to watch that very closely. (P4)

Many participants in this study also recognized that lower-limb amputation is more

common in people with diabetes. Unlike Gale and colleagues' (2008) study, whose

participants predominantly perceived that the cause was due to poor blood supply to the

feet and unrelated to foot ulceration, only one person in the current study specifically

mentioned this possibility, but this was beyond the scope of the present study. However,

what was important to recognize from this finding is that individuals did not necessarily


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need to know the specific cause to be alarmed, knowing the consequences of losing a

limb.

Past experience also acted not only as a teacher for the women, but as a

motivator to engage in better foot care, and this could explain the possible significant

results identified in this study. It is plausible to consider that maybe knowledge gained

from past learning experiences with diabetes and other illnesses may account for the

positive relationships between foot care and knowledge of diabetes scores. Clark and

colleagues (1991) found that, although self-management tasks are specific to an illness,

for example, measuring blood glucose for diabetes, there are also core self-

management tasks that are common to all illness categories that include physical

activity, smoking cessation, maintaining a healthy diet, recognizing and responding to

symptoms, and using medications, to list a few.

Valuable insight was gained from the qualitative findings regarding how individuals

may extend such self-care tasks as monitoring symptoms in general to foot care,

specifically based on past experiences. The qualitative study also illustrated that women

with other co-morbidities, such as cancer, felt that, since they made it through cancer,

they would not allow diabetes to impact them. They viewed cancer to be more

threatening, so if they could do self-care activities to help themselves with their diabetes

care they were encouraged to do so.

However, past experiences and prior learning did not necessarily help the women

engage in self-care behaviors. Furthermore, although the women with diabetes had

good knowledge about diabetes in general, they were unable to engage in preventive

behaviors for a variety of reasons. For example, the women expressed physical


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constraints, such as not having the energy or having knee issues or foot pain or chronic

pain that incapacitated them from doing the necessary exercises that were identified

from the qualitative findings. This is illustrated in the following:

I wish I could have energy to get up and walk, walking is good for you. I did
it before, before I got real heavy, and I use to enjoy walking, and just be
outside playing with the kids, the grandchildren. But all that gone. (P8)

I can't walk like I could a few months ago, matter a fact, because I don't
have my knee. I It hurts me to sit down, it hurts me to stand up, it hurts me
when I'm lying down, so you see I am in pain 24/7. (P4)

However, knowledge does not predict behavior. Some questions on the

knowledge scale for diabetes pertained to exercise. Specifically, the question asked

how many times per week and for how long someone with diabetes should exercise. In

this study, SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise were negatively correlated (r = -0.07),

and it was not significant. The possible discrepancy between having knowledge and

using that knowledge in part was explained by the qualitative findings. It would therefore

be important for future research to consider not only correlating, but doing regression

analyses, to see to what extent women's knowledge may be associated or predict

behaviors in similar domains, specifically using women's knowledge response scores

individually on the SKILLD survey to the corresponding activities measure on the

SDSCA-activities survey.

In the qualitative findings, once they were first diagnosed with diabetes, these

women, reported low diabetes knowledge. Though only current knowledge levels were

measured in this study, Rothman, Malone, Brayant, Horlen, DeWalt, and Pignone,

(2004)showed that comprehensive diabetes disease management programs, with

educational strategies appropriate for low literate patients, were of greater benefit to

patients with low literacy than those with higher literacy.


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Family support coupled with education may also help in changing lifestyle and act

as a key motivating factor for women with diabetes. Deakin and colleagues (2006)

hypothesized in their study that the intervention used (X-PERT Program) would lead to

increased diabetes self-management and sustained improvements in clinical, lifestyle,

and psychosocial outcomes. The study did not refute the hypothesis, and participation

in the X-PERT Program led to improved glycemic control; increased intake of fruits and

vegetables; increased knowledge about diabetes; readiness to change and setting and

achieving goals; and improved self-management skills through increased physical

activity and foot care at 14 months. Similar to the findings in the present study,

increased knowledge about diabetes was associated with increased intake of a specific

diet (eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding high-fat foods or full-fat dairy products).

Increased knowledge itself is not a predictor of behavior (Nath, 2007), rather health

educators are charged with the task of understanding health behavior to transform

knowledge about behavior into effective strategies for health enhancement (Glantz,

Rimer, & Lewis, 2002). However, having a greater understanding of the type of foods to

be avoided or reduced are key health messages that point diabetics in the right direction

for care. The qualitative findings also indicated that women learning what foods not to

eat, in combination with family support for eliminating that food, helped motivate them to

engage in better self-care behaviors.

I: So that's motivating you to do to eat better too, your daughter losing all
that weight.

P: Now she [her daughter] beginning to read the cans and stuff and seeing
what's in them, and the things she be drinking she be telling me about
certain things you know (laugh) .... so I said you know I guess I want her
to go with me and start buying some of the stuff what she buying she
have to write all of this down, she got to give it to me ... like last week she
lost 7 inches of fat .... and I want she going to run off some of the copies


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of the recipes, like what the doctor, they had gave her all kinds of recipes.
(P13)

Further, a study by Osborn and Egede (2010) applied the Information-Motivation-

Behavioral Skills (IMB) model to diabetes self-care using the diabetes knowledge scale

and the summary of diabetes self-care activities measure. With regard to the outcomes

for these scales, diabetes self-care information and motivation were associated with

behavior, and behavior was linked to lower A1C levels. In essence, having more

information (greater diabetes knowledge), having more personal motivation (less

diabetes fatalism), and having more social motivation (more social support) was

associated with better diabetes self-care behavior; and behavior was the sole predictor

of glycemic control.

For the present study, it was hypothesized that there would be no association

between knowledge and glycemic control, and this was confirmed from the study's

findings. However, although past studies measured knowledge differently from the

present study, the results found that increased diabetes knowledge was positively

associated with performing better diabetes self-care regarding glycemic control, a

discrepancy not obvious from the qualitative findings. One explanation could be that,

since individuals with less knowledge had less access to testing supplies, as was

evident from the qualitative findings, when they were tested, it may have been when

they were at the doctors, for example. Knowing they were going to the doctor, they

could possibly have started eating better and doing things to look good at the doctor's

office so that they would not be treated as a "typical diabetic"-overweight and

unconcerned-as some participants expressed from the qualitative findings. The small

sample size may have also accounted for this discrepancy.


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In this study, 7 of the 52 participants smoked and 45 did not. The independent t-

test indicated no statistically significant difference in SKILLD scores between the two

groups. Previous studies by Haire-Joshu and colleagues (1999) summarized the

literature on diabetes and smoking related to epidemiological risks, efficacy, and cost-

effectiveness of different cessation approaches, and found that there was minimal

information on the effectiveness of cessation interventions specific to people with

diabetes. Nevertheless, they indicated that there is no reason to assume that cessation

intervention would be more or less effective in this population. Although the findings

from the current study showed no association between knowledge about diabetes and

self-care regarding smoking or nonsmoking, the qualitative findings revealed that

diabetic smokers still have very similar triggers and struggles about quitting smoking,

despite the fact that they know it is not good when combined with diabetes. The role of

another sociocultural support with regard to smoking in a negative light is also

highlighted in the following quote:

I got to stop, I know I got to stop and I try not to buy, but then a friend came
up there you ain't got no cigarettes, you know you don't buy 'em then you
won't smoke um but then she come round you then she goin give me a
couple, that's why they sticking out the pack like this .... It's a bad habit
and I really got to stop, I sure do, but then I be here by myself and, what it is
I be here by myself and I get bored, and that's another thing that don't make
me eat, smoking the cigarettes, don't make me eat, I smoking a cigarette I
done forgot about everything else, as long as I got some water or ice in my
hand, I mean, I'm smoking a cigarette, not that's a bad habit, now that's
what gets me right now. (P9)

Though only 13.5% of the participants in the present study smoked, those

participants had a desire to quit smoking. Haire-Joshu and colleagues (1999) also

indicated that there is a clear need to increase the frequency of smoking cessation

advice and counseling for patients with diabetes, given the strong and consistent data


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on smoking prevalence; combined risks of smoking and diabetes for morbidity,

mortality, and several complications; and the proven efficacy and cost-effectiveness of

cessation strategies.

Health Education and Diabetes Self-care

Diabetes self-management education (DSME) plays a specific role in diabetes

care because it is an ongoing process of facilitating the knowledge, skills and ability

necessary for diabetes self-care, which incorporates the needs, goals, and life

experiences of the diabetic for the ultimate outcomes of informed decision-making, self-

care behaviors, problem solving, and active collaboration with the healthcare team to

improve clinical outcomes, health status, and quality of life (Funnell et al., 2007). From a

health education standpoint, applying the crisis framework and using a mixed method

study allowed the researcher to identify, in part, the mechanisms relevant to health

educators that support actions and lifestyles that are of positive benefit to an African-

American woman's life with diabetes. The study also helped gain valuable information

that addressed many areas of health education that can be used as a guide launching

pad for future health promotion programs.

Prolonged planning and routine monitoring, prevention, coordination of care,

education, and self-management are constantly needed for those with chronic illnesses,

but far too often, prevention and health promotion are shortchanged, despite the fact

that many diseases such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes

are among the most prevalent and costly, yet are the most preventable of all health

problems (CDC, 2005). The findings of the study indicated that 56% of the sample

recruited has a high level of knowledge. This is a step in the right direction and gives

health educators hope; however, future research is needed to identify how to better use


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assessment then educational strategies that improve a patient's ability to identify

effective diabetes care action plans, as well as conduct self-management behaviors

starting with their diagnosis and for subsequent periods for long-term care.

A key question is how to mobilize and involve patients in their own care and guide

them in learning about their diabetes. Gazmararian and colleagues (2003) indicated that

there are many opportunities to improve patients' knowledge about their chronic

diseases. In addition, Skelly and colleagues (2000) indicated that preliminary work must

be done to identify concepts that are important to the particular group under study. This

call has been answered in other studies that focused not only on African-Americans, but

also Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans, to develop culturally appropriate

messages. Studies such as the present one are needed to continue this research

endeavor because the diabetes epidemic continues to rise disproportionately in minority

populations (CDC, 2003). Health educators need to be advocates for assembling a

more multidisciplinary team, including psychologists and using assessments to help us

identify immediate concerns and issues and to help patients tackle the problem.

The study findings also highlighted the importance of identifying and further

exploring when and what defines an individual's adaptation of effective self-care and

when after initial diagnosis did it happen. Individuals have different adaptive processes,

so health educators need to better identify individual's adaptive or non adaptive

behavior to better target intervention strategies for an individuals in clinical settings. For

example women of lower socioeconomic status had jobs that were more physically

demanding and retired at a later age. Competing life priorities therefore may have

resulted in them being unable to manage their diabetes. Health educators may also


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consider the diffusion of innovations theory as a possible strategy for diabetics to accept

their condition (Oldenburg & Parcel, 2002).

In addition, for the society at large, not employing their knowledge about self-care

and self-care activities presents some serious long-term implications particularly as it

relates to cost, because limited initial self-care by diabetics potentially results in high

costs if more prevention is not channeled to early stages of diabetes self-care. The

findings suggested that this vulnerable group of women had more extensive needs due

to limited self-care practices when they were first diagnosed, typically resulting in more

extensive needs and higher healthcare utilization (Mason et al., 2002). Findings from

this study could help clinicians understand the sociocultural lives of these women and

how best to configure and consider treatment in the context of their lives. For example if

they lack the means to purchase medication, then they clearly need to be connected to

a clinic that is state funded.

In every culture the older generation passes the torch to the next, including

African-American women. Their culture of caring for others has major implications for

health educators, especially because many of these women end up caring for their

grandchildren exclusively or in conjunction with parents. As diabetics, if they pass on a

legacy of bad eating habits and other lifestyle traits that are risk factors for diabetes,

then the trend toward obesity and the incidence and prevalence of diabetes will

continue to disproportionately affect these women. To establish a more positive cyclical

pattern therefore means that health educators need to target African-American women

regarding their eating habits, their exercise behaviors by advocating for and improving

educational and community support channels that increase women's likelihood to


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choose to adopt better lifestyle traits to pass on to the next generation and subsequently

reduce the physical and economic costs to the individual and ultimately society at large.

Cost and Diabetes Self-care

Within the healthcare system, chronically ill individuals are expensive to treat and

become a disproportionate part of medical care costs. Chronic and non-acute care

consumes much of the healthcare system's dollars and affects people from all arenas of

life with different ages, income levels, and geographic regions (Anderson & Knickman,

2001). Specifically, total health care and related costs, for the treatment of diabetes,

runs about $132 billion annually (NIDDKD, 2005). Practical, policy, and systemic

change is possible if more prevention dollars were given to promote awareness of good

for such chronic illnesses as diabetes. The reality is that approximately 95% of the $2

trillion is spent on health care for direct medical services and only 5% is allocated for

prevention-based programs (Goetzel 2001; McGinnis et.al. 2002; Satcher 2006; Thorpe

2005). Incentivizing prevention activities like medication use and exercise may be a

way to get initially diagnosed women to focus on getting medications for treatment or

engaging in healthy behaviors (Sutherland, Christianson, & Leatherman, 2008).

Because some argue that the healthcare system is designed to deliver acute symptom-

driven crisis management care, it is less effectively configured to financially contribute to

diabetes self-care through health promotion; particularly regarding the development of

community-based collaborative daily self-management initiatives. Therefore, policy-

makers may need to consider refocusing on more long-term fixes instead of Band Aid

crisis management for the escalating costs attributable to chronic illnesses.

This is particularly true for chronic illnesses that can be self-managed and have

positive results. A health promotion- and prevention-focused system would offer a more


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efficient use of scarce medical dollars in the long run. Health educators and health

services researchers have a role to play in helping policy-makers' transition from

recognizing to actually funding prevention and health promotion projects that would

potentially prolong life and impact generations.

This means that to effectively address diabetes self-care in the context in which

we live, it is imperative that health educators become more creative. Health educators

are effective tools to improve the health status of Americans because they are uniquely

positioned to act as patient advocates and create social marketing projects the help

improve our social capital. For example, in a clinical or hospital setting where individuals

learn that they have major diseases, such as diabetes, health educators and

psychologists can also advocate to recruit a multidisciplinary team approach to do more

effective assessments to help better target individuals and their self-care needs before

they fall through the cracks of the system and only surface when they are stricken with

severe health consequences, which ultimately further drive up health costs that, had

there been intervention and compliance, could have been minimized.

Particularly salient are the challenges faced by the chronically ill Medicaid

enrollees who bear the brunt of disparities for health care. Medicaid recipients by their

very nature and eligibility requirements are disproportionately disadvantaged and suffer

more complex health conditions (Lillie-Blanton and Lyons, 1998). Medicaid recipients

were not specifically identified by the demographic survey, but the semi-structured

interviews revealed that some of the women in this study belonged to this group,

making clear by their histories and comments that increased disease management

(including self-management) techniques for this population are needed. By increasing


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a diabetes disease management focus on participants, cost savings are a potential

benefit. Future research should examine diabetes self-care programs in a primary

care setting to evaluate if it resulted in fewer ambulatory care-sensitive discharges in

this population. Medicaid funds, spent on ambulatory care-sensitive care conditions

such as diabetes, could save money to be applied to other patients or expand

enrollment if individuals are properly managed in a primary care environment, which

would mean they would not have fewer hospitalizations for that condition.

Rahim-Williams (2004), whose research looked at African-American women and

self-management, suggested that accessible community-based self-management

programs covered by insurance should be funded and offered by private health care

providers and public health programs, including community-based organizations,

service clubs, faith-based institutions, and health care programs with access to the

target community. This study also embraces this view in an effort to better serve the

target population studied.

In 2002, the American Diabetes Association outlined clinical practice

recommendations. Further, Funnell and colleagues 2009, noted that a goal of self-

management training and education is to ensure the collaborative processes through

which people with or at risk for diabetes gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify

behavior and successfully self-manage their diabetes and all related conditions, helps

individuals with diabetes achieve optimal health status, a better quality of life, and

reduce the need for costly health care. Health educators and health services

researchers, adopting this goal, can ultimately impact policymakers' decisions to

continuously consider the old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."


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The findings also indicate that focusing on prevention is something the women in this

study need to understand when they are first diagnosed with diabetes so that they can

slow the progression of their diabetes and increase their quality of life.

Methodological Issues

From the study process, various methodological concerns arose regarding the

data collection. Some participants were not available to do follow-up interviews. For

example, some participants who were on the extremes regarding higher or lower

knowledge levels consented only to the first part of the study and not the second, or

were not accessible by phone because they did not have one or it was disconnected.

Participants were more concerned about having someone to speak to about their

diabetes and the concerns they had than they were interested in measuring their

knowledge.

Revisions of the IRB documents had to be done at various times to make every

effort to expand the recruitment criteria. On various occasions, the most comfortable

place for the participant meant that their grandchildren or other factors competed for

their attention during the interview. Another competing issue was that participants

occasionally were interested in talking to someone generally regarding where to find

resources or getting resources, and so they were also focused on this during the data

collection or obtaining resources for care.

Limitations

The study had several limitations that should be noted when interpreting the

results. Various considerations should be made based on recruitment. The sample was

small and recruited from the North Central Florida region. Although the 52 participants

were adequate for this study, the results cannot be generalized to all African-American


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women with diabetes. Consequently the study insights and recommendations pertain to

this specific culture of women with diabetes and may not apply to the different

geographic regions. Because the study primarily identified associations, they should be

interpreted with caution and should not seek to predict behavior. Lack of anticipated

sample size and power or chance may account for absent relationships between

variables that in previous studies showed the presence of a relationship. Further

potentially confounding variables could have impacted the relationships identified in this

study.

The anticipated sample size was not achieved due in part to recruitment

difficulties. These difficulties in participant recruitment, including no financial incentives,

impacted the ability to recruit participants. Besides the posting of requests for

volunteers, one recruitment strategy, snowball sampling, was used and this may have

resulted in potential bias in participant responses, particularly when they were recruited

by family members or friends. Furthermore, the sample population did not lend itself to

effective follow up because the attrition rate was relatively high. For example, it was the

hope of the researcher to take the qualitative sample from the original sample of

African-American women, based on their scores from the SKILLD survey. Due to

participant drop out, lack of a follow up contact number, and lack of interest in

participating in a follow-up interview, and the researcher deferred to interest and

availability. For qualitative research, no set standard exists for the total number of

participants needed. To overcome this limitation, estimates were made based on prior

research (Guest, 2006; Patton, 2002) for the point at which saturation is likely to occur.


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In addition, the findings from the survey will be informative for a particular subset

of the community (who provide only one perspective) and the small sample size may

allow recommendations to be made for only that limited subset. Since all the interviews

for both data sets were self-reports this could have influenced the findings and so

inferences should be made with caution. For example, the design did not include access

to medical records for blood glucose levels to determine the specific HbAIC levels for

individuals, it was based on self-reporting. Also, many of the study participants had had

diabetes education and may not be representative of all individuals in the target

population with diabetes.

Summary

The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self-care

practices and explore experiences regarding diabetes among African-American women.

Fifty-two participants met the study criteria. The statistical power showed a favorable

result (0.92) based on a two-tailed hypothesis and type I error at 0.05. The mean age

for the sample was 55, ages ranging from 40 to64. The majority (86.5%) of the

participants were from Alachua County. Participants had had diabetes for an average of

9 years, the longest for 32 years. The mean for those who disclosed their blood sugar

reading was approximately 136, with a minimum reading of 70 and a maximum of 263.

Participants completed as much as 15 years and as little as 7 years of school, with the

mean number of years completed being approximately 11.97. Approximately 42.3% of

the participants had personal incomes of $10,000 or less, while for total household

income, 30.8% of the participants had an income of $10,000 or less. Over half of the

sample (61.5%) participated in some form of diabetes education classes, while 38.5%

had no formal classes.


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For this concurrent embedded design, the analyzed data provided information to

answer the general question of what additional information was obtained during the

correlation study from the qualitative data. Unlike the triangulation embedded design

which merges data from different data sets to answer a similar research question, this

aim of the concurrent embedded design was to answer different research questions and

bring the data together in a discussion as a part of the analysis, and the supportive

qualitative data set either reinforces or refutes the results of the primary quantitative

data set (Creswell & Clark, 2007).

Similar to previous studies, the qualitative component helped to explore patients'

values, motivations, and goals, which has been shown to be more effective in

addressing barriers to improving self-care activities (Heisler et al., 2005). For this study,

the qualitative component augmented the quantitative data in an effort to better

understand key areas that the population of interest needed to address regarding their

diabetes self-care. The quantitative findings measured knowledge and self-care

activities cross-sectionally, while the qualitative study spanned the years of the women's

lives with diabetes and subsequently provided substantial information not obtained from

the survey data. Regarding the findings of the quantitative study, interpreting them has

to be done with caution as the qualitative findings shed light on possibilities that

accounted or refuted the quantitative finding.

It was hypothesized in the correlational study that the women in the study would

have no higher than an average level of knowledge about diabetes; that their knowledge

scores would have no association to with (a) income, (b) years of education, (c) length

of time with T2DM, or (d) glycemic control; and that there were no associations between


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the respondent's level of knowledge of diabetes and their self-care activities. Generally,

in the descriptive study, these African-American women's experiences were examined

as they related to managing their diabetes and their perceptions about diabetes and its

meaning. In general, the findings from this study present mixed results. A few

hypotheses were partially supported with statistically significant findings and aligned

with previously reported research results. The major findings were summarized briefly

with a subsequent discussion of the implications.

Using Rothman and colleagues, 2005 study's stratification rationale, the sample

fell in the high knowledge category, since 55.8% of the participants scored above 50. It

was anticipated that respondents would have no higher than an average knowledge of

diabetes, but in this study respondents had a higher than the average level of

knowledge about diabetes.

The findings confirm the null hypothesis that there were no associations between

SKILLD scores and the following: personal and household incomes; length of time with

diabetes; and glycemic control of diabetes. Further, there were no statistically significant

differences in SKILLD scores and glycemic control between the two groups. In addition,

there were no associations between the respondent's level of knowledge of diabetes

and their self-care activities as they related to participants' (a) general diet (following a

healthful eating plan within the last 7 days and month); (b) exercise (negative r); (c)

blood sugar testing (positive rho); and (d) smoking status. These inconsistent findings

were explained and supported by the qualitative data.

However, other findings refuted the null hypothesis because there was a positive

significant correlation (rho = 0.24) between SKILLD scores and the years of education.


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Hence, participants with more years of education were more likely to have better

knowledge about diabetes. Further, the null hypothesis was also rejected for other

activities, because there was an association found between knowledge scores and both

specific diet and foot care. Specific diet was having eaten within the last seven days

amounts greater than or equal to five servings of fruits or vegetables or high-fat foods

such as red meat or full-fat dairy products. SKILLD scores and SDSCA-specific diet

were positively correlated (r = 0.28) and statistically significant.

There were wide-ranging diabetes experiences expressed by the African-

American women in this study. Research questions 4 and 5 were answered

interchangeably under the following three section divisions: A Portrait of the African-

American Diabetic Woman, Dealing with T2DM, and Managing T2DM, which

represented the general themes of the African-American women's experiences. Their

experiences and perceptions fell into two distinct categories and were affected by a

number of consistent and unique identified factors influencing both categories.

Five major themes were identified that influenced how the women dealt with their

diagnosis. These clustered around (1) perceived long-term consequences; (2) past

experiences; (3) seminal events; (4) level of awareness or understanding or

misunderstanding; and (5) support. Once participants acknowledged the importance of

self-care, they were typically proactive in the management of their care. There were,

however, times when they did not manage or were inactive regarding their care.

"Proactive" and "inactive" appropriately captured the highs and lows on a daily basis of

the diabetes self-care journey for these women. Despite their desire to care for their

diabetes, this journey was not always easy and difficulties that arose impacted their self-


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care behaviors, including such treatment concerns as medication issues, and concerns

about their providers and lifestyle changes, which included self-management, personal

barriers, and inadequate resources.

There were also influential factors that helped many of these women manage their

diabetes. These were referred to as facilitators, which were categorized as adaptive

strategies (coping skills). These included improved awareness or thinking, various

supports, role of past experiences, spiritual or religious beliefs, and adapting new

strategies for care.

In essence, measuring these women's knowledge cross-sectionally and obtaining

the results, although it may show higher knowledge levels, did not capture the reality for

the women when they initially found out they had diabetes and the process it took for

them, even after the classes and doctors' advice, to get to the present regarding

knowledge of and action for self-care. The qualitative findings also indicated that almost

all these women initially had low knowledge when they received their diagnosis years

prior. Years of experience and increased knowledge about diabetes allowed them to get

to the positions they were at now regarding having more knowledge about diabetes self-

care (as was indicated from the findings) and the actual care that they currently

employed day to day.

The discussion section addressed the study findings in the context of the model for

understanding the crisis of a physical illness. The sections of the discussion were

framed according to each of the categories in the theoretical framework and for each;

implications and suggestions for future research were presented followed by

methodological issues and limitations. The model for understanding the crisis of a


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physical illness was useful for this study because it appropriately explained the

relationship between some of the variables used in this study as they are associated

with outcomes in the literature, and that were anticipated for this study as well.

Suggestions for modification were highlighted and areas not addressed in this study

were also noted regarding the need for future research to address and examine these

areas.

The study design facilitated the different applications to various parts of the

conceptual framework (the model of understanding the crisis of a physical illness) to be

examined. Further, collecting the qualitative data provided support for the primary data

and delved into various perceptions, skills, and experiences that impacted the

framework and identified various areas of the model that need to be examined further.

Hence, the qualitative study provided possible explanations to account for quantitative

findings that refuted the null in the current study or were inconsistent with previous

research. For example, the importance of length of time with T2DM, not having any

association in the quantitative study, proved invaluable to the qualitative findings. The

study findings also provided rich pilot information for the areas that need to be further

explored. The continuous flow from precursors to skills and experiences to outcomes as

suggested by Moos (1982) was not observed in these findings; rather this study noted

a loop back pattern, and various factors that are thought to play a role later down the

process flow seemed to emerge earlier in these instances. Hence, it was not static,

particularly when accounting for the dynamic lives of these women with diabetes which

illuminate the fact that components do not always flow in one specific order.


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Despite their initial reactions of denial or avoidance to diabetes care, many of the

women realized the folly of their inactivity after a lifetime of consequences due to lack of

self-care. For example, initially some participants refused to take medication due to

misconceptions and used folk medicine, such as aloe vera, as an alternative. Other

women strongly expressed their frustrations with treatment, since they felt they were not

getting the care they needed from their provider because they felt stereotyped as

"typical diabetic" or they did not feel that their concerns were being addressed by their

practitioner. Religious beliefs and previous illnesses and experiences highlighted from

the qualitative findings help illustrate the multidimensional construct of health,

specifically as it related in this study, to African-American women with T2DM.

Inadequate resources (such as financial constraints), competing priorities (such as

caring for their grandchildren), and lack of flexibility in treatment were also listed as

possible impediments to sustained self-care practices were also cited. Hence, these

women need more access to diabetes education resources to act as constant reminders

of their ongoing diabetes self-care efforts.

It is clear that the education classes and provider advice worked once individuals

were ready to accept their condition. However, more consistent efforts to sustain long-

term knowledge and self-care activities were also discussed, especially in light of the

results that showed that many women had forgotten the information previously taught to

them in diabetes classes. The role of health educators to advocate to become more

creative, particularly as patient advocates, and to better reach these women at the key

juncture in their life when they were first diagnosed were also noted. As a public health

initiative, filling the system gaps that would help African-American women, within their


171









community, to get this consistent flexible care throughout their lifespan with diabetes is

an imperative.

Various limitations of the study pertained specifically to recruitment, including the

methods used (snowball sampling), lack of financial incentives for the target population,

inability to repeat sample due to attrition issues, and small sample size. In addition,

various methodological issues arose particularly due to recruitment. Some participants

who may have been considered important for a follow-up interview were not available to

do so. Participants were also more concerned about having someone to speak to about

their diabetes and the concerns they had than they were interested in measuring their

knowledge. There was a need to revisit IRB to expand the study criteria. The location

for interviews was not always ideal due to competing factors. Further, interviewees at

times were particularly interested in talking about diabetes and obtaining resources for

care.

Ultimately, the women are the glue that determined how securely they were

committed to their self-care practices, so in an effort to improve their individual lives and

reduce the societal burden, more prevention efforts need to tap into as many aspects of

these women's lives to help ensure that they have reminders to do self-care,

interspersed throughout the community, that actually encourage and foster sustained

change regarding their diabetes self-care practices. The following chapter summarizes

the entire document, and presents various conclusions, implications, and

recommendations.


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Table 4-1. Demographic characteristics of participants
What was your blood
How long have sugar the last time How many years of
How old are you known that they took blood from school did you
you? you have T2DM? your arm? complete?
N Valid 52 52 44 52
Missing 0 0 8 0
Mean 55.0192 9.3846 135.8864 11.9712
Median 56.0000 5.0000 128.5000 12.0000
Mode 59.00 5.00 130.00 12.00
Minimum 40.00 1.00 70.00 7.00
Maximum 64.00 32.00 263.00 15.00


Table 4-2. Personal yearly income
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent
Valid $10,000 or less 22 42.3 42.3 42.3
>$10,000 but 13 25.0 25.0 67.3
<=$20,000
>$20,000 but 13 25.0 25.0 92.3
<=$30,000
>$30,000 4 7.7 7.7 100.0
Total 52 100.0 100.0


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Table 4-3. Total household yearly income
Frequency
Valid $0.00 1
$10,000 or less 16
>$10,000 but
< = $20,000 13
>$20.000 but
< = $30,000 15
>$30,000 7
Total 52


Table 4-4. Participants' county
Frequency
Valid Alachua 45
Levy 6
Putnam 1
Total 52


%
86.5
11.5
1.9
100.0


%
1.9
30.8


25.0


28.8
13.5
100.0


Valid %
1.9
30.8


25.0


28.8
13.5
100.0


Valid %
86.5
11.5
1.9
100.0


Cumulative %
1.9
32.7


57.7


86.5
100.0


Cumulative %
86.5
98.1
100.0


Table 4-5. Sources of information for diabetes treatment
Frequency % Valid % Cumulative %
Valid Classes 28 53.8 53.8 53.8
Doctor 4 7.7 7.7 61.5
None 20 38.5 38.5 100.0
Total 52 100.0 100.0


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Table 4-6. Descriptive statistics for total SKILLD score
N Min. Max. Mean Median Mode SD Range
Total SKILLED
score 52 0.00 100.00 57.31 60 70 17.50 80


Table 4-7. Frequency for total SKILLD scores
Frequency %
Valid 20.00 3 5.8
30.00 3 5.8
40.00 5 9.6
50.00 12 23.1
60.00 9 17.3
70.00 13 25.0
80.00 6 11.5
100.00 1 1.9
Total 52 100.0


Valid %
5.8
5.8
9.6
23.1
17.3
25.0
11.5
1.9
100.0


Cumulative %
5.8
11.5
21.2
44.2
61.5
86.5
98.1
100.0


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Table 4-8. K-S Z for income, years of school, length of time with diabetes, blood sugar reading,
total SKILLD score


Normal
Parametersab


Most Extreme
Differences


Mean

SD

Absolute

Positive

Negative


K-S Z

Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed)
aTest distribution is normal.

bCalculated from data.


What is
your
income
each year?

52

1.98

0.99

0.260

0.260

-0.173

1.87

0.00


What is
your total
household
income?

52

2.21

1.09

0.194

0.194

-0.188

1.4

0.04


How many
years of
school
completed?

52

11.97

1.66

0.295

0.243

-0.295

2.130

0.00


How long
have you
known that
you have
T2DM?

52

9.38

8.23

0.222

0.222

-0.154

1.601

0.01


What was your
blood sugar the
last time they
took blood from
your arm?

44

135.88

40.98

0.184

0.184

-0.097

1.220

0.10


176


Total
SKILLED
score

52

57.31

17.50

0.150

0.104

-0.150

1.09

0.190










Table 4-9. Correlations between SKILLD score and incomes (personal and total household)
What is your
TOTAL What is your total
SKILLD income each household
SCORE year? income?


Spearman's
rho


TOTAL SKILLED
SCORE


What is your
income year?


What is your total
household
income?


Correlation
Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation
Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation
Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)


1.000


1.000


.093
52
.21


52
.844


.000
52


1.000


**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


Table 4-10. Correlation for total SKILLD score and years of education completed
How many years of
TOTAL SKILLD school did you
SCORE complete?
Spearman's rho TOTAL SKILLD Correlation 1.000 .24
SCORE Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed) ..088
N 52 52

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


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Table 4-11. Correlation for total SKILLD score and length of time with diabetes
How long have you (been
diagnosed) or known that you
have T2DM?
Spearman's rho TOTAL SKILLD SCORE Correlation -.11
Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed) .44
N 52


Table 4-12. Correlations for total SKILLD score and blood sugar reading
What was your blood sugar the last time
they took blood from your arm?
Total SKILLD score Pearson correlation 0.166
Sig. (2-tailed) 0.282
N 44


Table 4-13. Descriptive Statistics for participants' total SKILLD score and glycemic control
Outcome of
glycemic control N Mean SD Std. Error Mean
Total SKILLD score Good 16 55.00 18.98 4.74
Not good 28 60.00 17.43 3.29


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Table 4-14. Independent sample test for glycemic control
Levene's test t-test for
for equality of equality of means
variances
95% confidence
interval of the
difference
Sig. (2- Mean Std. error
F Sig. t df tailed) diff. diff. Lower Upper
Total Equal
SKILLD variances
score assumed 0398 0.532 -0.89 42 0.380 -5.00 5.64 -16.38 6.38

Equal
variances
not
assumed -0.87 29.18 0.39 -5.0 5.8 -16.8 6.8


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Table 4-15. K-S Z Scores for SDSCA-general diet, specific diet, exercise, blood sugar testing
and foot care


On how many
of the past 7
days and
month did you
follow a
healthful eating
plan?


Normal Mean
parametersab SD


Most extreme
differences


Absolute
Positive
Negative


3.83
2.43

0.12
0.096
-0.12


On how many of
the last 7 days
did you eat >5
servings of fruits
or vegetables or
high fat foods,
such as red
meat or full-fat
diary products?


5.00
1.71

0.17
0.12
-0.17


On how many of
the last 7 days
did you partici-
pate in at least
30 minutes of
physical
activity? And did
you participate
in a specific
exercise
session other
than what you
do around the
house or as part
of your work?
52
2.56
2.21

0.15
0.15
-0.12


K-S Z 0.83 1.25 1.09
Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed) 0.49 0.09 0.19
aTest distribution is normal.
bCalculated from data.

Table 4-16. Correlations for Total SKILLD score and SDSCA-general diet


On how
many of the
last seven
days did
you test
your blood
sugar? And
the amount
of times
suggested
by your
provider


4.15
2.73

0.24
0.15
-.024

1.70
0.01


On how
many days of
the last
seven days
did you
check your
feet? And did
you inspect
the inside of
your shoes?


4.12
2.58

0.20
0.13
-0.19

1.41
0.04


On how many of the past 7 days and month
did you follow a healthful eating plan?
Total SKILLD score Pearson correlation 0.003
Sig. (2-tailed) 0.985
N 52


180










Table 4-17. Correlations for total SKILLD score and specific diet
On how many of the last 7 days did you eat
>5 servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat
foods such as red meat or full-fat diary
products?
Total SKILLD score Pearson correlation 0.282
Sig. (2-tailed) 0.043
N 52
*Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).


Table 4-18. Correlations for total SKILLD scores and SDSCA-exercise
Mean for questions:
On how many of the last 7 days did you
participate in at least 30 minutes of physical
activity? And did you participate in a specific
exercise session other than what you do around
the house or as part of your work?
Total SKILLD score Pearson correlation -0.069
Sig. (2-tailed) 0.625
N 52


Table 4-19. Correlations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA-blood sugar testing
Mean score for questions:
On how many of the last
seven days did you test your
blood sugar? And the
number of times suggested
by your provider?
Spearman's rho Total SKILLD score Correlation .092
coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed) .518
N 52


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Table 4-20. Correlations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA-foot care
Mean score for questions:
On how many days of the last
seven did you check your feet?
And did you inspect the inside
of your shoes?
Spearman's rho Total SKILLD score Correlation coefficient 0.396*
Sig. (2-tailed) 0.004
N 52
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


Table 4-21. Descriptive statistics for cigarette smokers
Have you
smoked-even
one puff-during Std. error
the past 7 days? N Mean SD mean
Total SKILLD score Yes-smoker 7 55.71 16.18347 6.11678
No-non-smoker 45 57.56 17.85746 2.66203


Table 4-22. Independent samples test total SKILLD score and smokers and non-smokers
Levene's test t-test for equality of means
for equality of
variances
95% confidence
interval of the
difference
Sig. (2- Mean Std. error
F Sig. t Df tailed) difference difference Lower Upper
Total Equal
SKILLD variances
score assumed 0.038 0.85 -0.26 50 0.799 -1.84 7.18 -16.26 12.58

Equal
variances
not
assumed -0.28 8.45 0.789 -1.84 6.67 -17.08 13.40


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CHAPTER 5
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS

Summary

In the US, chronic diseases account for approximately 75 percent of the more than

$2+ trillion health care expenditure (CDC, 2009). Diabetes Mellitus, specifically, is one

of the chronic conditions that is a leading cause of disability and death (National

Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2005). In 2005, approximately

180 million people worldwide had diabetes and 1.1 million died from this condition

(WHO, 2006). In the US, 23.6 million people, or 7.8 percent of the American population,

has diabetes, of which 17.9 million people know they have diabetes, and 5.7 million

people go undiagnosed (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney

Diseases, 2008). In addition, almost half of diabetes deaths occur in people under 70

years. It is evident that the disease burden of diabetes is great. This chapter presents

the summary, recommendations, and conclusions of the study.

The chance of having T2DM are increased with (1) having a family history of

diabetes, (2) being a member of an ethnic group, such as African-American or Native

American, (3) being overweight or obese, (4) having had diabetes while pregnant

(gestational diabetes), (5) having high blood pressure, (6) having abnormal cholesterol

(lipid) levels, and (7) having limited physical activity (FDH, 2005). Furthermore, of the

15.7 million people with diabetes in 2002, more than 8.1 million of them were women

(CDC, 2002). As the population ages and obesity becomes more prevalent, the need for

diabetes education and self-care is urgent (Lewis, 2007). As in the rest of the US, the

prevalence of diabetes among adults in Florida has also continued to increase,


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particularly among obese individuals. Of them, the incidence of diabetes is 44.6%, more

than twice the rate of those who are not obese (FDH, 2005).

In order to achieve goals in diabetes care for specific minority groups particularly

susceptible to this disease, a greater understanding is needed of the experiences of

those affected by diabetes and their level of knowledge of managing their condition. A

major call to action is that researchers, practitioners, and individuals need to collectively

identify their roles in ensuring that individuals with diabetes receive appropriate and

adequate patient education, particularly for self-management skills to adequately control

the condition, as well as prevent adverse health outcomes. However, a critical missing

link to developing interventions at multiple points in the lives of African-American

women with diabetes is meeting frequently with them when they are in the initial

process of dealing with and managing their diagnosis.

This study used two methods, quantitative correlational and qualitative

descriptive design, to explore self-care knowledge and experiences regarding

diabetes care among African-American women with T2DM. The specific aims of the

study were (1) to assess knowledge about diabetic African-American women's self-

care; (2) to explore the associations between African-American women's level of

knowledge of diabetes self-care and (a) income level, (b) years of education, (c)

length of time with diabetes, (d) level of glycemic control, and (e) their self-care

activities; and (3) to explore the experiences of African-American women in

managing their diabetes, as well as their understanding of diabetes.

The five research questions proposed in this study are as follows:


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Quantitative

1) What knowledge level do African-American women with diabetes have about
their diabetes?

2) Was African-American women's knowledge level about their diabetes self-care
associated with income, year of education, length of time with diabetes, and
glycemic control?

Null Hypothesis H01. Respondent's knowledge scores had no associations to a)

income, b) years of education, c) length of time with diabetes, and d) glycemic control.

3) What were the associations between African-American women's levels of
knowledge for diabetes self-care and their self-care activities?

Null Hypothesis H02. There were no associations between respondent levels of

knowledge for diabetes self-care and their self-care activities.

Qualitative

4) What were African-American women's experiences managing their diabetes?
What adaptive tasks and coping skills did they use?

5) How did African-American women perceive their diabetes? What did diabetes
mean to them?


Informed consent was secured prior to interviewing the women. Four instruments

were used in this study, including a survey to collect biographic and demographic

information; the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literacy Diabetes Scale (SKILLD) to

measure diabetes knowledge of self-care; the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities

(SDSCA) instrument to determine current self-care activities or behaviors; and the

interview guide used to explore life experiences, knowledge, and understanding of

diabetes and how women with diabetes manage their chronic illness. The data were

collected from June 2009 to June 2010.


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Fifty-two participants met the study criteria. The statistical power showed favorable

results. The mean age for the sample was 55, with a range of 40-64. The majorities of

participants were from Alachua County (86.5%) and had had diabetes for an average of

9 years, the longest being 32 years. The mean for those who disclosed their blood

sugar reading was approximately 136. The mean number of years of school completed

was 11.97. Approximately 42.3 percent of the participants had an income of $10,000 or

less and 67.3 percent reported making $20,000 or less. When asked about total

household income, 32.7 percent of the participants had incomes of $10,000 or less and

57.7 percent reported making $20,000 or less nearly two-thirds (61.5%) had participated

in some form of diabetes education classes, while 38.5 % had had no formal classes.

The results revealed mixed findings. Some proposed hypotheses were partially

supported by statistically significant findings and corroborated previously reported

findings. Other findings were different from previously reported findings in the

literature. It was anticipated that respondents would have no higher than an average

knowledge of diabetes, but respondents in this study had higher than the average

levels of knowledge about diabetes.

Despite positive and negative correlations identified, they did not reach statistical

significance. The findings revealed that there were no significant associations between

SKILLD and personal and household incomes, length of time with diabetes, and

successful glycemic control. In addition, regarding their glycemic control, there were no

statistically significant differences in SKILLD score between the two groups (those who

managed their glucose well and those who did not).


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The results also revealed that there was a significant positive correlation (rho =

0.24) between SKILLD and years of education. It appears that participants with more

years of education were more likely to have better knowledge about diabetes. However,

there were no significant associations between the respondent's level of knowledge of

diabetes self-care and their self-care activities as those related to participants' (a)

general diet (following a healthful eating plan within the last 7 days and month); (b)

exercise (negative r); (c) blood sugar testing (positive rho); and (d) smoking status.

Associations were also found between knowledge scores and (a) specific diet and (b)

foot care. Specific diet referred to having eaten, within the last 7 days, servings equal to

or greater than five servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods such as fried food,

red meat or pork, or full-fat dairy products. SKILLD and SDSCA-specific diet were

positively correlated (r = 0.28) with statistical significance. The results showed that

participants who tended to engage in eating more fruits and vegetables and less high fat

foods within the week prior to questioning had more knowledge about diabetes than

their counterparts. In addition, SKILLD and SDSCA-foot care were also positively

correlated (rho = 0.40) and was significant.

These women had wide-ranging diabetes experiences. They also perceived the

cause of their diabetes as being due to genetics/hereditary, being overweight, having

bad habits concerning eating and exercising and having two or more physical co-

morbidities such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stress, as well as issues

with treatment. Not practicing preventative measures and poverty were also indicated

by them as possible causes of diabetes.


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The majority of the participants, when they were first diagnosed, perceived

diabetes to mean a type of illness "causing death," and the majority of women reacted

with denial and avoidance with a few exceptions for those who accepted their condition

from the very beginning. The reactions to their diagnosis of diabetes that each woman

went through were identified as denial, avoidance, or acceptance, Those who initially

denied, avoided, or disregarded their condition found that diabetes caused serious

consequences in their lives in the form of a crisis, usually a serious illness that showed

their choices to adapt were in ways that either helped or were further hurt by their

disease.

The women's experiences had a common denominator: their journey to

acceptance and the highs and lows associated with diabetes self-care. In sum, half the

participants initially accepted their diagnoses and were proactive in their self-care.

Surmounting various barriers to self-care through education and experience, over time

their initial fears were assuaged and their beliefs modified, particularly with regard to

diabetes automatically meaning "death." Hence, many of the women recognized that, if

properly self-managed, they could live a long life with diabetes. Five major themes were

identified that influenced how the women dealt with their diagnoses. These themes

clustered around (1) perceived long-term consequences; (2) past experiences; (3)

seminal events; (4) level of awareness or understanding or misunderstanding; and (5)

support. Typically, once participants acknowledged the importance of self-care, they

were proactive in the management of their care. There were, however, some who did

not manage well or ignored it. "Proactive" and "inactive" appropriately captured the

highs and lows of the diabetes self-management journey for some of these women on a


188









daily basis. Difficulties arose that influenced their self-care behaviors due to treatment

concerns such as medication issues, concerns about their health care practitioners, and

necessary lifestyle changes, as well as self-management, personal barriers, and

inadequate resources.

Influential factors that helped these women manage their diabetes are referred to

as facilitators, which are adaptive strategies and coping skills. These included improved

awareness or thinking, various supports, role of past experiences, spiritual or religious

beliefs, and adapting new strategies for care. In essence, measuring women's

knowledge cross-sectionally and obtaining the result, although it may show higher

knowledge levels, did not capture the reality of the women when they initially found out

they had diabetes and the process it took for them, even after the classes and doctors'

advice, to get to the point they are now at regarding some knowledge and motivation for

self-care. The qualitative findings also indicated that women who had received their

diagnoses years before initially had low knowledge but years of experience and

increased knowledge about diabetes allowed them to get to the position they were at

today, regarding having more knowledge about diabetes self-care (as indicated by the

findings) and the actual care that they currently employ.

The discussion section addressed the study findings in the context of the model

for understanding the crisis of a physical illness. The sections of the discussion were

framed according to each of the categories in the theoretical framework and for each

section, implications and suggestions for future research were presented followed by

methodological issues and limitations. The model for understanding the crisis of a

physical illness was useful to this study because it appropriately explained the


189









relationship between some of the variables used in this study as they are correlated or

not with outcomes in the literature. Suggestions for modification were highlighted and

areas not addressed in this study were also noted regarding the need for future

research to address and examine these areas.

The study design facilitated the different applications to various parts of the

conceptual framework (the model of understanding the crisis of a physical illness) to be

examined. Further, collecting the qualitative data provided support for the primary data

and delved into various perceptions, skills, and experiences that impact the framework

and identified various areas of the model that need to be examined further. Hence, the

qualitative study was able to provide possible explanations to account for findings that

refuted the null hypothesis in the current study or were inconsistent with previous

research. For example, the importance of length of time with diabetes was irrelevant to

the quantitative study, but proved invaluable to the qualitative findings. The study

findings also provided rich pilot information for the areas that need to be further

explored. The continuous flow from precursors to skills and experiences to outcomes as

suggested by Moos (1982) was not observed in these findings; rather, it was a loop

back, and various factors that were anticipated to play a role later on in the process

seemed to emerge earlier. Hence, it is a process that is not static or even necessarily

chronological, particularly when accounting for the dynamic lives of women with

diabetes, illuminating a process that does not always flow in one specific order or

direction.

Many of the women, despite their initial post-diagnosis reactions of denial or

avoidance of diabetic self-care, eventually experienced negative consequences.


190









Valuable insight was gained from the qualitative findings regarding how individuals may

extend self-care from monitoring symptoms in general to foot care, specifically based on

past negative experiences. However, for some neither past experiences nor prior

learning helped them engage in positive self-care behaviors. Though the women had

high knowledge about diabetes in general, they were unable to engage in preventive

behaviors for a variety of reasons. For example, the women expressed such physical

constraints as not having the energy or having other issues, such as knee problems or

foot or chronic pain that precluded necessary exercises, which was identified from the

qualitative findings. On the positive side, family support coupled with diabetic education

may also help to change lifestyle.

The study findings also highlighted that it is important to identify and further

explore when and what defines an individual's adaptation of effective self-care.

Individuals have different adaptive processes and so health educators have to better

identify individuals' adaptive processes to better target interventions in an individualized

way in clinical settings.

It is clear that the education classes and health care advice provided by

practitioners work once individuals are ready to accept their condition. However, more

consistent efforts to sustain long-term knowledge and self-care activities were also

discussed, especially in light of the results that showed that many women forgot the

information previously taught to them in diabetes classes. The role of health educators

to be more creative and to better reach out to these women at this key juncture in their

lives when they are first diagnosed were also noted. As a public health initiative, it is


191









imperative to fill the system gaps, thus helping diabetic African-American women to get

consistent, flexible care within their community throughout their lifespan with diabetes.

Various limitations specifically related to recruitment of participants should be

noted when interpreting the results. For example, the methods used (snowball), lack of

financial incentive for the target population, inability to sample due to attrition issues,

and small sample size were issues that could be improved in future study. Though the

final 52 participants were adequate for this study, the findings from the survey were

informative for a particular subset of the community (who provide only one perspective)

and the small sample size may allow recommendations to be made for only a limited

subset of the population. Because the study primarily identified associations, they

should be interpreted with caution and should not be applied to predicting behavior.

Conclusions

The results from the study justified the following conclusions:

1. More African-American women in this study had a higher degree of knowledge
diabetes than expected. Furthermore, they had a higher average rate of
knowledge of diabetes as measured by the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literate
Diabetes Scale (SKILLD), using Rothman and colleagues 2005 study's
stratification rationale. It was also observed that the participants perceived their
initial knowledge of diabetes to be low when they were first diagnosed and,
though they had gained knowledge since, they still indicated having more to learn
regarding diabetes and their self-care.

2. There were no significant correlations identified between African-American
women's diabetes knowledge and personal and household incomes; length of
time with diabetes; and glycemic control. Further, between the two groups of
African-American women, those who controlled their blood sugar effectively, and
those who did not, there was no significant difference in their knowledge levels.


192









3. African-American women's knowledge of diabetes was associated with number
of years of education completed. Specifically, there was a positive significant
relationship between their knowledge of diabetes and their years of education.

4. There was no significant relationship between African-American women's level of
knowledge of diabetes and their self-care activities as they related to (a) their
general diet (following a healthful eating plan within the last 7 days and month);
(b) their exercise (negative r); (c) their blood sugar testing (positive rho); and (d)
their smoking status.

5. There was a significant association found between African-American women's
knowledge of diabetes and their self-care activities as it related to (a) their
specific diet and (b) their foot care. Specific diet referred to as having eaten,
within the last seven days, greater than or equal to five servings of fruits or
vegetables or high fat foods. Foot care referred to the number of days, within the
last seven days, they check their feet or inspected the inside of their shoes. By
using preventive health care measures such as foot care, African-American
women's diabetes self-care efforts were supported.

6. African-American women had wide-ranging diabetes experiences and perceived
the cause of their diabetes as being due to genetics/hereditary, being overweight,
having bad habits (excessive and poor eating and too little exercise) or physical
co-morbidities, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stress, as
well as issues with treatment. Not engaging in preventative health measures,
poor choices in life style, and poverty were also indicated to a lesser degree as
possible contributing factors. It is important to eliminate possible fatalistic
attitudes or help treat the depression that women may experience after learning
they have diabetes.

7. African-American women's experience and perceptions organized around the
themes of: dealing with a diagnosis of T2DM and management of T2DM. Dealing
with the diagnosis was divided into two sections: (1) reactions denying,
avoiding, or accepting/recognizing and (2) influential factors perceived long


193









term consequence, past experience, seminal events, level of awareness or
understanding or misunderstanding, and support. While management of T2DM
fell into the categories of proactive and inactive and was divided into two
sections: (1) difficulties treatment concerns, lifestyle changes, personal
barriers, and inadequate resources and (2) facilitators improved awareness or
thinking, various supports, role of past experiences, spiritual or religious beliefs,
and adapting new strategies for care.

8. The life experiences of the African-American women demonstrated potential
intervention points that could be targeted for each woman at different stages of
life. Focusing on prevention is something the women in this study need to
understand when they are diagnosed with diabetes so that they can manage a
slower progression of their diabetes and increase their quality of life. For
instance, when they were first diagnosed, the misconceptions about diabetes led
to ineffective self-care because their initial reactions were avoidance and denial.
With professional counseling and an increase in knowledge regarding diabetes,
their self-care activities can improve. Family support was a key sociocultural
consideration, specifically the role family played in promoting or hindering self-
care activities. In addition, experiences with loss of family members and friends
to diabetes granted many a certain wisdom, gained from experience, and they
were eventually better for the experience despite periods of denying their
condition or distancing themselves from self-care.

Implications and Recommendations for Future Research

It is important to note that some of the implications below are similar to those

reported in other studies (Rahim-Williams, 2004; Pauvali, 1996) because they still have

not been appropriately addressed or remedied within the health care system.

1. It is important for collaborative efforts between public health, psychology, and
health education practitioners in clinical settings to better target the
misconceptions and inadequate understanding of diabetes for African-American
women, particularly when they are first diagnosed.


194









2. In addition to diabetes education classes, support groups with health educators
and peer support personnel should be available to help women process the
information they obtained from the group and help them discuss a comparison
between their prior knowledge and their new knowledge to form an effective
knowledge base from which to engage in effective self-care practices that are
more aligned with clinical practice settings.

3. Health educators need to help ensure that the current education does not fall
prey to: a) a lack of understanding of individuals' cultural mileu of food
preparation and eating; b) a focus on a generic diabetes education care package
and not individualizing care packages; c) a focus on imparting the severe
consequences regarding ignoring diabetes and avoid imparting knowledge
regarding recognition of lesser symptoms.

4. Ineffective self-care can result in serious long-term implications, particularly as
they relate bodily damage and cost, because initial limited self-care for diabetes
results in potentially high costs if better care is not incorporated by the patient in
the early stages of diabetes self-care. Therefore, health policy changes that
promote prevention and, for those already diagnosed, health promotion efforts
supporting those with such chronic illnesses as diabetes cannot continue to be
minimized and funding needs to be assigned in greater amounts.

5. Greater knowledge and effective self-care behaviors are needed to, not only help
the individual, but it also impact subsequent generations. Individuals with more
knowledge are better able to help break the cycle of inactive self-care and to be
proactive and impart that knowledge to family and friends to also help them with
their diabetes care. If they pass on a legacy of bad eating habits and other
lifestyle traits that are risk factors for diabetes, then the cycle that promotes
increased rates of obesity and diabetes will continue to disproportionately affect
these women.

6. Diabetes self-care needs to be flexible, consistent, and accessible. Patients need
access to more diabetes education resources to act as constant reminders for


195









their ongoing diabetes self-care efforts. It is imperative a public health initiative
needs to start filling the system gaps that would help African-American women,
within their community, to get this consistent flexible care throughout their life
spans.

7. Health educators play invaluable roles as: a) trainers of clinicians and other
health care practitioners and (b) advocates for systemic changes.

Health educators as trainers for physicians and other health care

practitioners. a) They need to understand the sociocultural lives of these women and

how best to configure and consider treatment in the context of their lives; b)

individualize care because a one size fits all approach using diabetes education

classes, though important, is not enough; c) focus on care of patient immediately after

diagnosis as part of the care process and practitioners need to have "diagnosis

sensitivity" training as a part of their "cultural sensitivity" training.

Health educators need to be advocates for systematic change. They need to

advocate for clinical settings to have a multidisciplinary team to help tackle the problem

of diabetes as it relates to self-care practices for minority populations, particularly

collaborating with psychologist to use assessments to help identify immediate concerns

and issues that contribute to inadequate self-management of diabetes. Further, health

educators could do various assessments in clinical settings to help determine a patient's

readiness to accept his or her condition, teach skills to better teach self-care skills and

activities, and to identify and advocate for the abolition of barriers to sound care.

Health educators as advocates for patients. In addition to more diabetes

classes, assessments affiliated with these classes need to be implemented to not only

gauge individual readiness to learn, but also readiness to accept the diagnosis to better


196









target possible intervention points for health educators. Health educators need to be

advocates for policy change to help influence policy makers to prevent delaying

prevention and health promotion efforts that may result in increased physical and

financial cost for the individual and increased costs to society in general.

Health educators as advocates for systematic changes and increased

disease management focus. A prevention advocate specialist needs to be created

within the already established disease management arena where the job is to help

newly diagnosed patients engage in effective self-care practices to ward off severe

consequences that many women in this study ultimately faced due to their initial

resistance to self-care practices. These prevention specialists would be assigned to the

newly diagnosed. Their role and responsibility would be to visit the home and help the

diabetic adjust to care. Further, they would be there to help reduce fears and clear up

misconceptions. Their role would also entail helping the women source medication and

equipment and help them to adjust to their self-care practices. In addition to case

management functions, they could be rewarded by bonuses the longer their patients

have long-term beneficial outcomes due to prevention strategies that the health

educator helped the patient learn to do effectively.

Increased insurance coverage. Rahim-Williams (2004), who looked at African-

American women and diabetic self-management, suggested that accessible community-

based self-management programs should be covered by insurance offered by private

health care providers and public health programs, including community-based

organizations, service clubs, faith-based institutions, and health care programs with


197









access to the target community. This study also embraces this view in an effort to better

serve the target population studied.

Recommendations for Future Research

1. Health educators need to play an increased role in clinical settings to help assess
recently diagnosed individual's concerns, beliefs, and readiness to accept their
condition and to learn about diabetes. For example, using the Diabetes Health
Belief Model scale (DHBM, a scale based on an 11-question questionnaire on
health beliefs that operationalizes the health belief model for individuals with
diabetes (Powell et al., 2007), needs to be a tool that is used in the clinical
setting more often when individuals are initially diagnosed with diabetes. Also,
there is a need to explore ways to better assess patients' readiness to not only
learn about their condition, but where they are in accepting and internalizing their
diagnosis so that the well established and structured education classes do not go
underutilized.

2. Health educators need to continue to be a key resource for diabetics and
increasingly ensure that literature for diabetics is written in an accessible but
comprehensive manner. In addition to suggested meal plans for diabetics
according to race, maybe meal plans specific to African-Americans and their
tastes and traditions in particular would be helpful. However, more studies need
to be done to make the literature more specific to a particular group within a
culture.

3. Provide opportunities to generalize the findings in this study by doing further
studies that focus on: a) the assessment of both clinicians' care of African-
American women with diabetes and their views of African-American women with
diabetes and how that impacts future treatment encounters; b) the need to
understand how people make their choices; and c) the need to identify the role
the transtheoretical model stages of change (Prochaska, Redding, and Evers,
2002) may play in dealing with diabetes and the possible intervention points that
need to be addressed in clinical settings.


198









4. Identify individuals' adaptive models, self-efficacy regarding how they view
diabetes, and their locus of control to better target interventions in clinical
settings

5. Future studies should explore the extent to which each of the coping skills and
adaptive tasks within the context of the model for understanding the crisis of a
physical illness were major contributors to self-care. Thus far, the findings
indicate that some are contributing factors, but future studies should try to tap
into each of the adaptive tasks as defined by the model as key areas for
intervention for these women to improve their self-care behaviors.

6. It is important to consider diabetes as a continuum of crisis/disruption and
ultimately target interventions to better address diabetes self-care in the following
two areas: dealing with the diagnosis and self-management of diabetes to help
African-American women better adjust to and live with it. Future research needs
to examine the model, the crisis of a physical illness when considering the
sociocultural and socioecological aspects of diabetes care and intervention to
manage diabetes self-care. Considering the model for the crisis of a physical
illness for future research is also warranted as a possible framework to expand
on the possible process of learning to self-manage diabetes care. More needs to
be done to examine how and to what extent the socioecologic (Liburd, 2010)
domains are all accounted for within the context of the crisis of a physical illness
framework. Further, the significance to a person of the effect on different body
parts, as suggested by moos (1982), was not explored in this study, but could be
an area for future research to explore as it relates to suggesting, motivating, and
implementing better health care practices, particularly to help control diabetes.


199









APPENDIX A
DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW GUIDE

1. Do you have Type 2 Diabetes (As diagnosed by a doctor)?

2. What county are you a resident of in Florida?

3. How old are you? Or What year were you born?

4. How long have you (been diagnosed) or known that you have type 2 diabetes?

5. What is your blood sugar reading the last time they took blood from your arm?


6. What is your income each year?

1. Less than 10, 000 per year

2. Greater than 10,000- less than 20,000 per year

3. Greater than 20,000- less than 30,000 per year

4. Greater than 30,000 per year

7. What is your total household income?

8. How many years of school did you complete? What was the last grade of school
that you completed?

9. What types of diabetes treatment have you participated in?

10. What race best describes you? American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or
Pacific Islander, Black-other, Black-African American, Hispanic.

Exclusion criteria

11. Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness (anything that will not allow
you to answer questions to the best of your knowledge for this survey)?

12. Are you Pregnant?


200









APPENDIX B
SPOKEN KNOWLEDGE IN LOW LITERACY DIABETES SCALE

1. What are the signs and symptoms of high blood sugar?
How do you feel when your blood sugar is high or when you were diagnosed?

Needs at least (2): Extreme thirst, frequent urination, drinking or eating, blurred
vision, and/or drowsiness/fatigue

2. What are the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar?
How do you feel when your blood sugar is too low?

Needs at least (2): Hunger, nervous/jitteriness, mood swings/irritability, confusion,
sweaty, or fast heart rate

3. How do you treat low blood sugar?
What should you do if your sugar is too low? How can you bring your blood sugar
up if it's too low?

Accept very general answer: Juice, milk, hard candy, 15 grams of carbohydrates
AND check blood sugar

4. How often should a person with diabetes check their feet?
Once a day, once a week, or once a month?

Accept: Daily

5. Why are foot exams important in someone with diabetes?
Why is it important to look at your feet? What are you looking for?

Accept very general answer: Prevention of morbidity due to
neuropathic/immunologic consequences
of diabetes

6. How often should you see an eye doctor and why is it important?
How often? Why?

Accept: Seen at least yearly AND screen/manage retinopathy, glaucoma, blindness,
etc

7. What is a normal fasting blood glucose or blood sugar?
When you get up first thing in the morning and check your blood sugar before you
eat or take medicine, what should
it be? What two numbers?

Accepted range: 70 (or 80) to 120


201









8. What is a normal Hb A1C (hemoglobin A1C) or "average blood sugar test"?
When they draw blood from your arm and get an average blood sugar reading what
should it be?

Accept either: Normal <= 6% or Target <=7%

9. How many times per week should someone with diabetes exercise and for
how long?
How many times a week? How long or how much per day?

Accept within: 3-5 times per week for a total of 30-45 min each (must include
frequency and duration)

10.What are some long-term complications of uncontrolled diabetes?
Do you know anyone that has diabetes and had "bad things" happen to them? What
are some of those "bad things"?

Needs at least (2): Blindness/impaired vision, kidney damage/dialysis, amputation,
neuropathy/ impotence/ gastroparesis, or cardiovascular disease.


202









APPENDIX C
SUMMARY OF DIABETES SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES MEASURE

Instructions: The questions below ask you about your diabetes self-care activities
during the past 7 days. If you were sick during the past 7 days, please think back to the
last 7 days that you were not sick.
Diet

1. How many of the last seven days have you followed a healthful eating plan?


00 01


02 03 04 05


06 07


2. On average, over the past month, how many Days per week have you followed your
eating plan?


00 01


02 03 04 05


06 07


3. On how many of the last seven days did you eat five or more servings of fruits and
vegetables?


00 01


02 03 04 05


06 07


4. On how many of the last seven days did you eat high fat foods such as red meat or
full-fat diary products?


02 03 04 05


06 07


5. On how many of the last seven days did you participate in at least 30 minutes of
physical activity? (Total minutes of continuous activity, including walking).


00 01


02 03 04 05


06 07


6. On how many of the last seven days did you participate in a specific exercise session
(such as swimming, walking, biking) other than what you do around the house or as part
of your work?


00 01


02 03 04 05


06 07


Blood Sugar Testing

7. On how many of the last seven days did you test your blood sugar?


00 01


02 03 04 05


06 07


203


00 01

Exercise









8. On how many of the last seven days did you test your blood sugar the number of
times recommended by your health care provider?

Foot Care

9. On how many days of the last seven days did you check your feet?

00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07

10. On how many days of the last seven days did you inspect the inside of your shoes?

00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07


Smoking

11. Have you smoked a cigarette-even one puff-during the past seven days?
O. No
1. Yes. If yes, how many cigarettes did you smoke on an average day? Number of
cigarettes


204









APPENDIX D
QUALITATIVE INTERVIEW GUIDE

1. When you are describing your condition to others, how do you describe it or what
do you call it?

Probe: What does diabetes mean to you?

2. What do you think caused your diabetes?

3. Tell what it's like to have diabetes?

Probe: Describe the experience when you learn that you had diabetes

4. How has it (diabetes) affected your life?

Probe: How does your body feel now that you have diabetes?

5. How do you take care of your illness?

Probe: Describe how did you learnt about how to take care of your diabetes?

6. What do you do to take of your illness?

Probe: What helps you to take care of your diabetes?

Probe: What makes it difficult or gets in the way for you do what you need to do

to take care of your diabetes?

Probe: What adaptive tasks and coping skills do you use to take care of your

illness?

7. What would you tell others who just learned they have diabetes about the
illness?

Probe: What would be important to know about them in order for you to talk to

them about their illness?


205











APPENDIX E
LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS

Date: Time:

Facilitator: Audio
Consent:

Interview #: Informed
Consent:

Understanding Self Care Practices for African American Women with Type 2
Diabetes

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening [Interviewee Name]. My name is Gail Young and I am
a Graduate student at the University of Florida. The purpose of this survey is to
identify for African American women, such as yourselves knowledge about diabetes self
care and to explore your experiences with managing your diabetes as well as your
understanding of diabetes.

Your participation in this survey/interview is entirely voluntary and you will not be
penalized in any way for refusing to respond to the survey. If you agree to participate in
the survey/interview/focus group please be encouraged to answer all of the questions. If
you prefer not to answer any question you find objectionable you may skip it and move
on to the next, without any penalty.

All information received from you will be confidential as explained to you or read
by you in the informed consent. Please be as accurate and honest as possible in
answering the questions.

Gail Young will read and explain the form to you, and then you will be encouraged
repeat to me your understanding of it or review the form yourself. Once you fully
understand the form and if you are interested in participating in the study, then you will
be asked to sign the form, before you begin the study.

The questions that will be asked of you by Gail Young, should take approximately 20-30
minutes to complete. If you are chosen to do the Individual interview/focus group then at
an agreed upon time and date, and the interview will last between 45-60 minutes.
Before you begin this individual interview or focus group, you will be also asked to sign
an audio consent form. This is a minimal risk study. No compensation is offered.

THANK YOU for taking the time to participate in this study. For more information about
the Study please contact Gail Young, (Department of Health Education and Behavior,
P.O. Box 118210, Gainesville, FL 32611; gaildale@ufl.edu) or William Chen,


206









Department of Health Education and Behavior, P.O. Box 118210, Gainesville, FL
32611; wchen@hhp.ufl.edu), 352-392-0583 ext 1284. The information you provide will
be extremely useful to the communities.

For questions about your rights as a research participant, please contact the
Institutional Review Board Office at 352-846-1494 or PO Box 100173, Gainesville, FL
32610.


207









APPENDIX F
LETTER TO POTENTIAL SITES FOR RECRUITMENT


DATE


Name
ADDRESS
Gainesville, FL

Dear X (NAME /TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN),

I would like to schedule a meeting with you in the near future to discuss your site as a
possible place for recruiting participants for my dissertation research. I will be delighted
to have the opportunity to meet with you and look forward to sharing my research with
you and your team. My name is Gail Young and I am a doctoral candidate in the
department of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida. The focus of
my research is to assess core knowledge about African American women diabetes self
care; explore the level of self care activities that these women engage in as well as
identify their experiences managing diabetes and their understanding of diabetes. Low
income, low literate African American women with Type 2 diabetes will be the targeted
participants for my study. The project title is: Understanding Self Care Practices for
African American Women with Type 2 Diabetes.

I write to inquire if you believe your population would be willing to participate in this
study. Specifically we would like the opportunity to put up flyers and recruit individuals
from your facility. If a private room is available, it may be better to conduct my study at
your facility if you invite us to do so. If a room is not available, then if agreed, a secluded
area on the compound will be requested and agreed upon. If this is not possible,
another location such as a public library room will be used and an interview scheduled
with the participant.
If you have any questions prior to our meeting please contact me at 305-785-5317 or
352-358-4122. Otherwise, I will contact you to schedule our meeting. I wish you
continued success with your facility and I look forward to meeting with you in the near
future.


Best Wishes,
Gail C. D. Young, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Health Education and Behavior,
Campus Address: PO Box 117330,
Gainesville, FL 32611,
352-358-4122 or 352-392-0583 ext 1409
gcdyoung@gmail.com, or gaildale@ufl.edu


208







APPENDIX G
FLYER USED TO RECRUIT PARTICIPANTS


WE NEED YOUR HELP


WE NEED YOUR HELP


JOIN A STUDY THAT WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT YOU

AND HOW YOU CARE FOR YOUR DIABETES


If you are:
1. An African American Woman
2. Between 40-64 years old with Type 2 diabetes
3. If you have at most a 2 year college degree but less than
year college degree


PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN AN INTERVIEW AND/OR
FOCUS GROUP


To learn more about the study please contact:
Gail Young, MA, PhDc
UF, College of Health and Human Performance
352-358-4122 or 305-785-5317


COME JOIN THIS STUDY


209


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Gail was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies. In 1995, she came to the

United States where she completed a dual degree, Bachelor of Science in psychology

and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, from Howard University in Washington, DC, with

honors and received various academic and athletic scholarships. As an undergraduate,

she received the Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for outstanding academic and athletic

achievement for 1997-1999. In summer 1997, Gail received the Lucey E. Moten

International Relations Fellowship to study abroad in Spain at the University of

Salamanca. After graduating, she moved to New York, completing a master's in

psychology at Columbia University Teachers College.

She moved to the D.C. area to work as a substance abuse counselor at Alcohol

and Drug Services, Fairfax County, Virginia. She later worked as a research assistant at

the University of Miami in Coral Gables, and as a Social Services Counselor for the

State of Florida Department of Corrections in Miami. In 2004, she attended the

University of Florida Department of Health Education and Behavior. There she worked

as a teaching assistant and a research assistant for the Medicaid Reform Evaluation

project, as well as the Project Coordinator/Research Assistant at the Rehabilitations

Outcomes Research Center of Excellence. She graduated with her Doctor of

Philosophy in Health Behavior in 2010. Her research interests include women's health,

diabetes education, minority women's issues, Medicaid and the underserved population,

and public health policy regarding women's issues. Gail has been the wife of Mark

Terafi Young since 2005 and has a beautiful daughter, Saree Young. Her family

includes her wonderful parents and in-laws, her three loving brothers and sisters-in-law,

and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and loving and supportive friends and church family.


221





PAGE 1

1 UNDERSTANDING SELF CARE PRACTICES FOR AFRICA N AMERICAN WOMEN WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES By GAIL CHARMELENE DALE YOUNG A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE RE QUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 Gail Charmelene Dale Young

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3 To my God that sustains me, my ancestors who paved the way, my family who love me, the mentors who encourage me, my daughter Saree A bigail Young and my husband Mark Tefari Young who hold my heart and to all the women who took the time to share their stories to advance the cause of research, this is for you

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for lighting my path, bearing my burdens, and showing me that this work is more about serving others and less about me. I am extremely blessed to have obtained help and support from many people during my doctoral study. I would like to convey my appreciation to my chair D r. W. William Chen for his unending support and shining example as a mentor and person. I am indebted to Dr. Sheu for his instruction in methodology and for the countless hours of guidance and support through the details of this work. My sincere appreciati on extends also to Dr. Dodd for her great example of a female Ph.D. I thank my health services research and policy mentor Dr. R. Paul Duncan for his expertise, guidance, and support. I am tremendously grateful to Dr. Duncan for opening my life and work to such great possibilities and opportunities and whose time, patience, advice, and instruction were priceless. I am also indebted to Dr. Lutz for being an amazing mentor and supporter whose encouragement and instruction were immeasurable. I am particularly grateful to my unofficial committee members: Dr. Hall, Dr. Bridgett Rahim Williams, Dr. Simpson, Dr. Sanders, Dr. Pigg, and Dr. James, and Dr. E. Newton Jackson Jr. whose encouragement helped with various parts of the research process, and for their role a s student advocates. I would also like to thank Dr. Behar Hornstein for her class on dissertation writing. B lessed am I to have been chosen by God to be the daughter of Heron and Marjorie Dale whose love means the world to me, and whose prayers, support a nd guidance have been my rock unfailing. I am so thankful that in spite of my faults they loved me believed in me and prayed for me even when I did not believe in myself.

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5 I am so thankful to be blessed with wonderful in laws, Michael and Jacqueline Young for embracing me into their family with open arms; you all are incredible. For the constant love, support, frank criticism, yet subtle encouragement, I salute my brothers, Robert, Bion, and Drury Dale and I love you all with all my heart I am also gratef ul to my sisters and brothers in laws LeAnne and Damian, and Sanya and Gavin, and Anjule. To my sister Jeanne Marie Hudson, and my niece Kaiyu, I am better for knowing you. Though you are not physically here with me, Grandma Davis, I know that you are work love and abounding grace. Thank you for loving me and for teaching me about God and his love, a love that constantly encircles me with an unperturbed focus that helps me pers evere and keep going forward. Grandma Young, thank you that, at 92, you still remember every step of my journey to keep me accountable and on track. To all my family, especially the matriarchs, Aunt Alden and Aunt Lena, and the patriarch, Uncle Denzil Sout hwood Smith, for keeping me connected to where I came from. Also to my Godmothers Elizabeth, Hertha, and Gloria, and my adopted mother, Aunt Gloria Norwood, who keep me grounded and constantly embrace me with love. To Uncle Claude and Aunt Marcia, Uncle Ca rl and Aunt Lois, Uncle Norris, Aunt Yvonne, Aunt Nella, Aunt Marlize, Aunt Jean, Aunt Molly, Uncle Carlyle, Aunt Philis and Aunt Helen, your love constantly warms my heart To my deceased forefathers, and my aunts and uncles who I lost along this journey: Uncle John and Aunt Missie, Uncle Johnnie, and Uncle Terrence, you will forever be in my heart.

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6 My sincere gratitude is also extended to my church family and friends for their prayers, love, and constant support. Thanks to my prayer partners, Robin and C laire, I love you. I am particularly grateful to the sisters and brothers in Christ at the Gainesville Christian Church, my baby sitters and Ms Gladyse, ort. Words cannot express the immense appreciation I feel for the support and encouragement from my friends and colleagues Dr. Danielle Hyles Rainford, the future Dr. Keva Thompson, Dr. Amrobeth, Dr. Haun, my cousins Shana Kae Davis, Nadine Killibrew LLB, Dr. Helen Norwood, Vanessa Norwood, Sonya Killibrew, Dr. Daryl McCartney, Donna Southwood Smith Paul, David, Kevin and family Dean and Michelle and all of my other cousins and in law cousins, Miguel Hastings and Tricia for tears and /or times of commiser ation. I am also grateful to Dr. John, Dr. Wilder, Dr. Manohar, Dr. Cox, Dr. Lyles, Dr. Largo Wight, Dr. Wirth, Dr. Melissa Morris Howard the future Dr. Kimberly Elliot, Dr. Georgia Bianchi, Lilly Bell, Holly, Samantha, and for their support and example t hroughout this process. A special thank you to people who, though our paths crossed for only a short time, made such an indelible mark on me: my marriage dynamics classmates at the Gainesville Christian Church, Dr. Jia, Jane and Lino Stanchich, Ted Emanuel Dr. Bono. To Dr. Paul Logan and Ms. Sally McCoy at Howard University who always showed me such love and encouragement and helped me find my way, and my cousin Alicia who led me to such great people, I love you all. Many thanks also to my department progr am assistants Sheri and James P. Milford for all that you do and who you are. To the dearest and best editor, Margaret Joyner, you are my unsung heroine. My thanks are

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7 also extended to my previous co workers the Florida Medicaid Reform Evaluation team memb ers and RORC group for their support. I am also grateful to all those who support and sustain my family. I thank God for offices and staff like the Office of Graduate Minority programs at the University of Florida and the leadership of Dr. Alexander withou t which much of my work would have not been supported financially. T o my darling daughter, Saree Abigail Young, you helped me more than you will ever know Finally to my husband, Mark Tefari Young, for his unending support and love, you have been my worl d and my voice of reason, I love you more than words are able to express To all my family and friends that I have not specifically named, please know that your help, support and prayers have helped made my journey possible.

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8 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 11 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 12 LIST OF DEFINITIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ 13 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 16 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 20 Statement of the Research Problem ................................ ................................ ....... 25 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 27 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 28 Quantitative ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 28 Qualitative ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 28 Delimitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ....................... 28 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 29 Assumptions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 29 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 30 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 32 Defining Chronic Illness and Diabetes ................................ ................................ .... 33 Chronic Illness and the Health Care System ................................ .......................... 34 ................................ .......................... 35 Increasing Health Care Costs ................................ ................................ ................. 36 The Role of Literacy and Health Literacy in Diabetes Care ................................ .... 37 Diabetes, Literacy, and Healt h Outcomes ................................ ............................... 41 Vulnerable Populations and African Americans ................................ ...................... 43 Importance of Culture in Diabetes Self care ................................ ........................... 46 Management of Diabetes and the Role of Self Care ................................ .............. 47 Factors Affecting Diabetes Self care ................................ ................................ ...... 49 Socioeconomic Factors ................................ ................................ .................... 49 Level of Income ................................ ................................ ................................ 50 Level of Education ................................ ................................ ............................ 50 Length of Time with Disease ................................ ................................ ............ 51 Glycemic Control ................................ ................................ .............................. 51 Knowledge for Diabetes Self care ................................ ................................ .... 54 Self Management Activities ................................ ................................ .............. 55

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9 Measures in Diabetes ................................ ................................ ....................... 55 Diabetes Education ................................ ................................ ................................ 57 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 59 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 61 Theoretical Perspective ................................ ................................ .......................... 61 Model for Understanding the Diabetic Illness Quantitative Study .................. 61 Precursors Background and personal characteristics ................................ 65 Precursors Illness related factors ................................ .............................. 65 Precursors Physical and social environmental factors ............................... 66 Skil ls and experience ................................ ................................ ................. 66 Outcome ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 68 Explanatory Model ................................ ................................ ............................ 68 Research De sign ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 69 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 73 Setting and Participants ................................ ................................ .................... 74 Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 74 Instrumentation ................................ ................................ ................................ 76 Demographic information Questionnaire ................................ .................... 77 Spoken know ledge in low literacy diabetes scale (SKILLD) quantitative study ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 77 Scoring SKILLD ................................ ................................ ......................... 78 Summary of diabetes self care activities m easure quantitative study ........ 78 Scoring SDSCA ................................ ................................ ......................... 79 Interview guide qualitative study ................................ ................................ 79 Scientific Integrity ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 80 Protection of Human Subjects ................................ ................................ ................ 81 Data Collection and Recruitment ................................ ................................ ............ 82 Recruitment and Reimbursement ................................ ................................ ..... 83 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ 83 Data Analysis Process ................................ ................................ ............................ 84 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 9 0 4 RESULTS, DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS ................................ ................ 92 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 92 Participant Characteristics/Demographics ................................ .............................. 92 Results of Individual Research Questions ................................ .............................. 94 Research Question #1 ................................ ................................ ...................... 94 Research Question #2 ................................ ................................ ...................... 94 Research Question #3 ................................ ................................ ...................... 97 Research Question #4. ................................ ................................ ................... 100 Research Question #5 ................................ ................................ .................... 100 Portrait of the African American Woman with D iabetes inThis Study ............. 101 Dealing with a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus ................................ .... 108 Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Influen tial Factors ....................... 116

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10 Impediments ................................ ................................ ............................ 117 Facilitators ................................ ................................ ................................ 118 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 123 Background and Personal, Illness Related, Physical ................................ ............ 125 and Social Environmental Factors, and Skills and Experience ............................. 125 Background and Personal Factors ................................ ................................ 125 Physical and Social Environmental Factors ................................ .................... 131 Skills and Experience ................................ ................................ ..................... 136 Outcomes: Diabetes Knowledge and Self Care Activities .............................. 142 Diabetes Knowledge ................................ ................................ ...................... 143 Diabetes Knowledge and Self care Activities ................................ ................. 150 Health Education and Diabetes Self care ................................ ....................... 157 Cost and Diabetes Self care ................................ ................................ ........... 160 Methodological Issues ................................ ................................ .......................... 163 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 163 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 165 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS ................................ ........ 183 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 183 Quantitative ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 185 Qualitative ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 185 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 192 Implications and Recommendations for Future Research ................................ .... 194 APPENDIX A DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW GUIDE ................................ ................................ .. 200 B SPOKEN KNO WLEDGE IN LOW LITERACY DIABETES SCALE ....................... 201 C SUMMARY OF DIABETES SELF CARE ACTIVITIES MEASURE ....................... 203 D QUALITATIVE INTERVIEW GUIDE ................................ ................................ ..... 205 E LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS ................................ ................................ ............... 206 F LETTER TO POTENTIAL SITES FOR RECRUITMENT ................................ ...... 208 G FLYER USED TO RECRUIT PARTICIPANTS ................................ ..................... 209 H LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ....................... 210 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 221

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11 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 List of variables for Quantitative study ................................ ................................ 60 4 1 Demographic characteristics of participants ................................ ..................... 173 4 2 Personal yearly income ................................ ................................ .................... 173 4 4 Particip ................................ ................................ .......................... 174 4 5 Sources of information for diabetes treatment ................................ .................. 174 4 6 Descriptive statistics for total SKILLD score ................................ ..................... 175 4 7 Frequency for total SKILLD scores ................................ ................................ ... 175 4 8 K S Z for income, years of school, length of time with diabetes, blo od sugar reading, total SKILLD score ................................ ................................ .............. 176 4 9 Correlations between SKILLD score and incomes (personal and total household) ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 177 4 10 Correlation for total SKILLD score and years of education completed ............. 177 4 11 Correlation for total SKILLD score and length of time with diabetes ................. 178 4 12 Correlations for total SKILLD score and blood sugar reading ........................... 178 4 13 control ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 178 4 15 K S Z Scores for SDSC A general diet, specific diet, exercise, blood sugar testing and foot care ................................ ................................ ......................... 180 4 16 Correlations for Total SKILLD score and SDSCA general diet ......................... 180 4 17 Correlations for total SKILLD score and specific diet ................................ ........ 181 4 18 Correlations for total SKILLD scores and SDSCA exercise .............................. 181 4 19 Correlations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA blood sugar testing .............. 181 4 20 Correlations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA foot care ............................... 182 4 21 Descriptive statistic s for cigarette smokers ................................ ....................... 182 4 22 Independent samples test total SKILLD score and smokers and non smokers 182

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12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Adaptation of a conceptual model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness.. ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 91

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13 LIST OF DEFINITIONS C RISIS T HEORY Focuses on how individuals cope with a major life crisis and transition (Moos, 1977). D IABETES MELLITUS A chronic disease due to either or both insulin deficiency and resistance to insulin action, and associated with hyperglycemia (elevated b lood glucose levels). Over time, without proper preventive treatment, organ complications related to diabetes develop, including heart, nerve, foot, eye, and kidney damage; problems with pregnancy also occur (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive an d Kidney Diseases, 2005). L ENGTH OF TIME WITH DIABETE S The length of time diagnosed, which is greater than one year upon entering the study. G LYCEMIC CONTROL The typical levels of blood sugar more specifically glucose in an individual with diabetes, great er than or less than 70 120 mg/dL [3.89 6.67] of their glucose level or calculated as the proportion of HbA1C less than 7%. (Rothman Malone, R., Bryant, B., Wolfe, C., Padgett, D.A., et al., 2005; Koro, Bowlin, Bourgeois, and Fedder, 2004) L EVEL OF E DUCA TION This is the years of education that is less than a four year college degree L EVEL OF I NCOME Refers to diabetic women whose annual individual income is less than $ 25 ,000 at the time of the study (CDC, 2002). S ELF CARE /S ELF MANAGEMENT Activities und ertaken by individuals to promote health, prevent disease, limit illness, and restore health (Schoenberg and Drungle, 2001) S OCIOECONOMIC S TATUS Will only refer to low income women and those with less than a high school degree (CDC, 2002) and those with l ess than a four year college degree. T YPE 2 D IABETES MELLITUS (T2DM) Occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes effectively (NIDDKD, 2005). V ULNERABLE POPULATION Vulnerable populations are social groups who have an increased relative risk or susceptibility to adverse health outcomes (Flaskerud and Winslow, 1998).

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14 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy UNDERSTANDING SELF CARE PRACTICES FOR AFRICA N AMERICAN WOMEN WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES By Gail Charmelene Dale Young August 2010 Chair: W. William Chen Major: Health Behavior Diabetes is a significant public health proble m and a leading cause of disability and death in the United States. The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self care activities and explore experiences of African American women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This mixed met hod study used a quantitative correlational design and a qualitative descriptive design. The data was collected using s urveys and semi structured individual interviews and analyzed using SPSS 17.0 and Atlas ti 5.2 Data were transcribed verbatim and examin ed for emergent themes. The sample included fifty two African American women between the ages of 40 64 from the North Central Florida region. The mean age for the sample was 55 years Approximately 55.8% of the participants had higher than the average k nowledge for di abetes. Results showed no associations between the r knowledge about diabetes and certain self care activities. H owever there were positive significant correlations between knowledge about diabetes and the year s of educ ation (rho=.24) and some self care activities namely (a) specific diet (r=.28) and (b) foot care (rho=.40).

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15 Participants experiences with diabetes varied and most were aware of a t least one factor that contributed to their diabetes. Thematically their experience and perceptions organized around dealing with diagnosis of T2DM and management of T2DM with various factors influencing both. Influential factors for a) dealing with their diabetes included perceived long term consequences, past experiences, se minal events, level of awareness and support; b) managing their diabetes included difficulties (concerns with treatment, lifestyle changes, personal barriers and inadequate resources) and facilitators (improved awareness, supports, past experiences, relig ious beliefs, and adapting new strategies for care). Limitations to note when interpreting the results were that there was a convenience sample, attrition, and a small sample size. Though significant associations were identified, they should not be used t o predict behavior. More interventions are needed to help improve the diabetes self care behaviors for African American women when first diagnosed and motivate them to get consistent flexible ca re throughout their lifespan to help alleviate increasing di abetes morbidity and mortality.

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16 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Chronic illnesses such as diabetes claimed the lives of approximately 35 million people in 2005 and are also the leading causes of death worldwide (World Health Organization (WHO), 2005). If not co ntrolled, projected deaths from chronic illnesses will increase by 17% in 2015 (WHO, 2005). Chronic illnesses cannot be prevented by vaccination and they do not eventually just go away. Rather, effective prevention, treatment, and health promotion initiat ives reduce mortality, and with just a 2% reduction in chronic illness death rates annually, as many as 36 million lives can be saved (WHO, 2005). In America, more than 1.7 million, or seven of every ten, people die of a chronic illness (CDC, 2005) and ch ronic conditions account for approximately 75 percent of the more than $2 trillion health care expenditure (CDC, 2009). In 2005, approximately 180 million people worldwide had diabetes and 1.1 million died from this condition (WHO, 2006). In addition, 23 .6 million people, or 7.8 percent of the American population, has diabetes, of which 17.9 million people know they have diabetes and 5.7 million people go undiagnosed (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2008). In addition, a lmost half of diabetes deaths occur in people under 70 years of age. Fifty five percent of diabetes deaths are women and this number will increase by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years if urgent action is not taken (WHO, 2006). Diabetes mellitus, t herefore, is a significant public health problem and is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2005). Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), some may argue, is the however, this is not in keeping with the facts, especially because complications from

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17 diabetes are the leading cause of blindness among adults. Additionally, about one fifth of persons with diabetes develop nephropathy which requires ren al dialysis treatment or transplantation. Additionally 30% of lower limb amputations are consequences of diabetes, and diabetes patients have an almost three fold risk of heart disease and stroke (van den Arend, Stolk, Krans, Grobbee, and Schrijvers, 2000 ). In 2006, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in America (Xu, Kochanek, Murphy, and Tejada Vera, 2007). Another co morbidity is pregnancy complications (Powell, Hill, Clancy, 2007; Thackaray, Merrill, Neiger, 2004). Diabetes is also associat ed with continually changing symptoms, severity, perceived stigma, and future risk, all of which affect adherence to health promoting behaviors (Elliot, Ross Degnan, Adams, Safran, Soumerai, 2007). It is evident that the diabetes disease burden is great. Nationally, the United States also sets goals reported in Healthy People 2010, a Healthy People 2010 include (a) increasing diabetes education from 45% to 60% (through p revention programs), (b) reducing the disease and economic burden of diabetes, and (c) improving the quality of life for all persons who have or are at risk for diabetes. In addition, reducing the diabetes death rate and increasing the proportion of adults with diabetes who perform self blood glucose monitoring at least once daily are other important goals for the nation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (DPHP), and U. S. Department of Health and Huma n Services (USDHHS), 2008). The American Diabetes Association (ADA) also developed standards of for patients with diabetes that guides healthcare providers and patients through the complex process of managing diabetes (ADA, 2002)

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18 Above and beyond the goa ls set by the nation as a whole, individuals have to set their own goals for their diabetes care. The good news regarding diabetes is that it can be managed. However, managing T2DM involves two interacting levels: the treatment, consisting of self care be havior and medical treatment, and the monitoring of the disease, consisting of self control and medical control (van den Arend et al., 2000). Throughout this document, the terms diabetes self management and diabetes self care (Schoenberg and Drungle, 2001) will be used interchangeably. The primary goal of T2DM self management is to lower blood glucose levels. Reduced levels help to prevent the onset or progression of long term complications, as well as improve the cardiovascular risk profile to prevent the symptomatic cardiovascular disease. However, various factors impact effective diabetes self care. These factors include limited access to care, low socioeconomic status, and low health literacy. Literacy, as well as health literacy, impacts the ability o f the nation to reach its diabetes goals. In the United States, an estimated 44 million Americans are functionally illiterate, and more than 90 million have inadequate literacy skills (American Medical Association, 1999; Rothman, Malone, Bryant, Wolfe, Pad gett, DeWalt,Weinberger, Pignone, 2005). Both limited literacy and health literacy are also prevalent among patients with diabetes, and are associated with poorer knowledge of the illness and its complications, worse glycemic control, and higher rates of r etinopathy (Powell et al., 2007). In addition, past research showed that comprehensive diabetes disease management programs, with educational strategies appropriate for low literate patients, were of greater benefit to patients with low literacy than those with higher literacy (Rothman, Malone, Brayant, Horlen, DeWalt, Pignone, 2004).

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19 Since one of the primary goals for diabetes, is self care, T2DM demands that individuals have knowledge about their condition, specifically regarding how to treat it and it s various symptoms (Rothman et al., 2005). In addition, knowledge of the individual is critical to assess the impact of diabetes education and interventions, as well Further, despite diabetes education, various studies indicate that knowledge deficits are evident with low literate diabetics. Hence, individuals with low literacy have trouble g their diseases, and, lack resources to help them find answers to questions. Low literacy may translate to low disease health literacy, which ultimately results in a lack of ability to care for specific illness such as diabetes. In addition, understanding why individuals do not practice self care even though they are disproportionately affected needs to be studied more. Further, in order to achieve goals in diabetes care for specific minority groups who share the burden of this disease, a greater understa nding is needed of the experiences of those affected by diabetes, as well as their levels of knowledge for managing their condition. Hence, a major call to action is that researchers, practitioners, and individuals need to collectively identify their role in ensuring that diabetic individuals receive the appropriate and adequate patient education, particularly for self management skills, to manage their condition, as well as prevent adverse health outcomes. To answer this call to action, more research has b een devoted to diabetes self management for various populations. Furthermore, the empirical literature highlights the success of self management of chronic illnesses as being related to better health outcomes. This brings

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20 us to a question that health educa tors try to negotiate: How do we translate health education into behavior? Specifically for this research, the guiding question is why do individuals fail to properly manage their diabetes, thus undermine their well being? Significance of the Study Though usually a life long condition diabetes can be managed. A chieving a good However, explanations of poor self management include several interacting patient characteristics : knowledge, attitude, motivation, and personal skills (van den Arend et al. 2000) are important steps toward managing diabetes Knowledge gaps exist for individuals regarding diabetes self care and it is important to identify how these gaps impact indivi care practices. In addition, a central tenet for changing patient behaviors and lifestyles is health education and promotion because one of its key assumption s is that helping individuals allows them to help themselves (van den Arend et al., 20 00). It is imperative, to improve health education for disease specific conditions such as diabetes, in research and practice, because inadequate knowledge of the effect of diet and weight on diabetes and blood pressure and a lack of knowledge of the symp toms of hypoglycemia and its treatment may be life threatening (Williams, Baker, Parker, Nurss, 1998). Since past research showed that comprehensive diabetes disease management programs were of greater benefit to patients with low literacy than those with higher literacy (Rothman, Malone Brayant, Horlen, DeWalt, Pignone 2004) it is even more compelling to address the diabetes burden, in part by education However, the reality is that k nowledge does not translate to action and behavior modifications a re the most difficult to achieve since individuals are asked to make changes in lifestyle patterns established over many years.

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21 T he ADA recommends that people with diabetes visit their healthcare providers every three to four months (Florida Department of Health, 2005). However, once individuals have seen the healthcare practitioner, they are in control of the recommendations they choose to implement or ignore. I ndividuals need to be continuously targeted for effective diabetes self management skills educ ation and promotion especially because diabetes treatment regimens are complex and require making significant lifestyle changes that are not easy F actors that translate knowledge into behaviors for this specific population also need to be improved. In the past, most traditional health professional training was based on a medical model designed to treat acute healthcare problems. Today, new approaches that take into consideration the cultural world of the patients are increasingly necessary. These approa bility for the daily self management of diabetes and that to succeed, a self management plan needs to fit s (Funnell and Anderson, 200 3 ). Further, patients are the experts on their own lives, and are the primary decision makers in the control of the ir daily diabetes self management (Funnell and Anderson 200 3 ). Unfortunately, many diabetic individuals either do not understand the importance of the self manag ement practices for their long t erm survival or cannot be bothered with the regimens Despite their reasons, since the accrue directly to individual s it is even more important that they take responsibility to manag e diabetes in a way that is best suited to the context and culture of their lives (Funnell and Anderson 200 3 ).

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22 A factor that inhibits the growth of the self management literature is that patients or users of the healthcare system do not have as great a voice as they need in decisions about research and practice. T o achieve a health care system that helps patients it is imperative that individuals do have a voice Sofaer and Firmigner (2005) summed it up I f we are truly to achieve a health care sy stem that is patient centered, we must Further, making decisions about their health has been discussed more and studied less (Blenkinsoopp, Bashford and Dickinson, 199 8 ; Granas and Bates, 2005).The literature also indicates that patients with low literacy need to be questioned orally about the degree of involvement they desire or are capable of, in the management of their diabetes as well as the confidence they have in disease self management (Powell et al., 2007). This study will add to the research base and individuals from vulnerable populations may be given the opportunity to present th eir diabetes plight. Past research indicate s that more studies are needed to examine the experiences of vulnerable populations with poor health status, particularly because this group has more extensive health needs and higher utilization (Mason et al., 2 002). Though the chronically ill may only be a small segment of health plan enrollees, they generate an outsized proportion of its healthcare expenditures, and concerns about the quality of care provided to the m warrant a better understanding of the ir expe riences (Mason Scammon, Huefner 2002). T he current healthcare system does not reward preventive care or continuity of care. Neither does the system reward early diagnosis, interdisciplinary care, emotional counseling, or patient and caregiver education.

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23 Vulnerable populations are relatively overlooked by previous research that reports the general population is satisfied and have high utilization of health plans in managed care (Mason et al., 2002). Hence, new investigators have a responsibility to study vulnerable populations in an effort to better target these priority population s with the scarce prevention dollars available. Various studies also indicate d that low literacy is associated with poor disease knowledge and self management practices (William s et al., 1998; Weiss, Hart, McGee, Wang, Osmond, Daher, Palacios, Sullivan and Bindman 2002; Powell et al. 2007). It is especially important to conduct this research, because assessing diabetes knowledge f or self care issues and identifying the specific behaviors of individuals with low levels of literacy may lead to more targeted interventions (Powell et al. 2007).Unfortunately, limited research has been done on low literate populations and behavior chang e (Nath, 2007). One behavior specific to diabetes care is preventing further complications and eventual mortality that can occur due to ineffective or absent self management Preventative health behaviors are defined as behaviors by which individuals activ ely improve or maintain their health status (Cowther, Green, Armstrong, 2004). For example, in 1992, Duelberg conducted a study among African American women and found that they were less likely than white women to practice pr eventative health behaviors. I t i s important to identify and add to the gap in the literature to promote prevention messages t hat meet established planning goals for the chronically ill of the nation. T he specific needs of particular communities are also important to highlight to bett er serve them.

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24 Past research has also increasingly looked at diverse populations and refined instruments such as knowledge scales to be culturally appropriate (Vincent, Clark, Zimmer, Sanchez, 2006). Further knowledge scales have also been developed with the underserved population in mind but limitations exist in the se scales developed because they have focus ed on closed ended multiple choice questions However, Rothman and colleagues in ( 2005 ) indicated that individuals with low literacy sometimes have a difficult time answering multiple choice questions. They developed a new knowledge scale to more effectively measure diabetes knowledge among individuals with diabetes and specifically those with low literacy. F or a number of reasons Florida is an important state to look at when assessing diabetes self care knowledge for African American women. Based on the reported estimates, Florida is the fourth most popul ous state in the nation, with 67 counties and 18 million people (U .S. Census Bureau Statisti cs, 2005). Florida also has approximately 51% females and 49% males in the population and three major ethnic groups in whites (80%), Hispanics (19.5%) and African Americans (15.7%) (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). In Florida more than 8% of adults have diabet es (FDH, 2005) although only an estimated 1 million adults know they have diabetes based on an official diagnosis (FDH, 2005), while approximately 300,000 Floridians are still unaware of their diabetes status. In addition, similar to most states, Florida also recognizes certain disparities regarding minorities who share a disproportionate burden of diabetes. Despite past studies regarding understanding diabetes self care practices, the use of more culturally appropriate instruments, and attention in rese arch to minority populations, the escalating burden of diabetes in the African American female

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25 population still disproportionately affects these individuals. In 2004, Rahim conducted a study seeking to understand health behaviors, beliefs support systems, and access to care and their combined impact on diabetes self management and glucose control. This with managing diabetes. Further, this study included women within a wide age ran ge, up to 87, and education level, up to doctoral degree. The present study measured the participants, knowledge about diabetes and its self care, as well as captur ed each term living with and managing diabetes and limite d the recruitment of women to a certain age range and educational level, which makes it more specific and tailored to further explore, understand and corroborate diabetes self care knowledge and practices that augment Rahim Statem ent of the Research Problem Among some of the major challenges facing the healthcare system is helping the increasing number of individuals diagnosed with diabetes control their condition. A challenge specifically for diabetics is that they have not receiv ed necessary self management interventions (Fisher, Brownson, 2007) because as many as 60 to 70% go without this intervention (Austin, 2006). In 2002, of the 15.7 million people with diabetes, more than 8.1 million of those wer e women (CDC, 2002). Furthermore, approximately 95% of all persons diagnosed with diabetes and almost 100% of all persons with undiagnosed diabetes have T2DM (CDC and U S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008) while type 1 accounts for about 5 % of individuals with diabetes (NIDDKD, 2005). In addition, the chance of having T2DM are increased by (1) having a family history of diabetes, (2) being a member of an ethnic group such as African American (3) being overweight or obese, (4) having had

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26 dia betes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), (5) having high blood pressure, (6) having abnormal cholesterol (lipid) levels, and (7) having limited physical activity (FDH, 2005). The diabetes epidemic also disproportionately affect s women In diabetes ca re, positive outcomes depend on individual lifestyles such as individual self management for example, appropriate diet and use of medic ations (Elliot et al., 2007). On average, ce, but more than 8760 hours yearly on their own (Fisher et al., 2007). It is therefore imp ortant to improve self management practices across a diverse population regardless of the ial and minority groups are disproportionately affected by diabetes It occurs two to four times more often among African Americans Hispanics, Native American s and Asian Pacific women than among white women (CDC, 2002). The most common complication of diabetes is the risk of heart disease. Women with diabetes who suffer a heart attack have poorer subsequent quality of life and lower survival rates than men in the 25 to 44 year age bracket (CDC 2002). Another burden for women with diabetes is that death rates for these women are three times the rate for women without diabetes In addition, middle aged women with T2DM tend to have less education, lower income, and are less likely to be employed when compared to women without diabetes (CDC, 2002). Furthermor e social and economic issues leave many older women living alone and poor and in Florida 28.5% of women in the 45 to 64 age bracket with diabetes have an annual family income of less than $10,000 and more than half have less than $20,000 (CDC, 2002).

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27 Th e extent of low literacy and health literacy levels for people with diabet es regarding essential diabetes knowledge coupled with the need to accurately measure diabetes knowledge were instrumental factors that motivated Rothman and colleagues (2005) to dev elop a scale to measure this knowledge for self care for a low literate population Previous knowledge scales had certain limitations. For example, they were often lengthy or too complicated for individuals with limited educational backgrounds and low lite racy (Rothman et al., 2005; Speight and Bradley, 2001) and could be outdated, since many were developed in the 1980s (Speight and Bradley, 2001). Hence, continued use of scales such as the one developed by Rothman and coll eagues that specifically target lo w literate individuals will better address th is population regarding diabetes self care practices. This study differs from previous studies in two significant ways. First, the investigator obtained a picture of daily self care struggles for those who hav e not necessarily been in an intense control program for their diabetes and have compounding factors that make them particularly vulnerable to increased morbidity, defeatist perceptions, and poor self care behaviors. Second, the goal of this study is to ap ply a modified model for understanding the crisis of physical illness using a mixed methodology to identify key elements that seek to improve self care practices for a socioeconomic group that have for the most part low literacy and poor behavioral outcom es and is less studied. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self care activities and explore experiences of African American wome n with T2DM. Specifically, this study (1) assess ed knowledge about diabetes in African American women; (2)

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28 explore d the associations between African of diabetes and (a) income level, (b) year s of education, ( c ) length of time with diabetes, ( d ) glycemic control, and ( e ) self care activities; (3) explore d experiences of African American women about managing their diabetes as well as their understanding of diabetes. This study also use d a mixed methodology to examine a modified model for understanding the adaption to a physical illness. Research Questions Q uantitative 1) What knowledge level do African American women with diabetes have about their diabetes? 2) Wa s African American self care associated with income, year of education, length of time with diabetes, and g lycemic control? Null Hypothes i s H01 Respondent no associations to a) income, b) years of education, c) length of time with diabetes, and d) glycemic control. 3) What were the associations between African American s of kn owledge for diabetes self care and their self care activities? Null Hypothesis H02. There were no associations between respondent level s of knowledge for diabetes self care and their self care activities. Qualitative 4) What we re African American periences managing their diabetes? What adaptive tasks and coping skills did they use? 5) How d id African American women perceive their diabetes? What did diabetes mean to them? Delimitations of the Study The following delimitations should be considered in th is study. 1. Study participants include d African American women with diabetes who w ere recruited primarily from the Gainesville community and surrounding area health

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29 clinics, low income communities, churches, low income programs, and beauty salons. 2. Data colle ction was during the 20 09 20 10 academic year. 3. Demographic data w ere collected using a questionnaire to obtain self reported participant characteristics. 4. The study use d an embedded mixed methods correlational model with a quantitative correlational design a nd a descriptive qualitative research design only. 5. The age range w as appropriate for the study purpose. Limitations 1. The counties chosen for the study may not represent all African American women in the s tate of Florida. 2. The participants in this study w ere all from the North Central Florida community (Alachua, Putnam and Levy count ies ) 3. self care activities and perceptions represent ed one point in time and may not account for any changes as their diabetes condition evolv ed or the healthcare system changes. 4. Demographic information obtained from study participants did not capture all relevant information about participants. 5. Data collected during the 20 09 20 10 academic year may vary from data collected during other periods o f time. 6. Interview guides may not identify all associated perspectives. 7. Use of qualitative research design limit ed measurable data analysis for that component of the study. 8. Diabetes knowledge and self care activities, for this study was measured by self re port. 9. Threats to internal and external validity were : a) l imitations for interpreting the findings, b) p otential threats to the study c) l imitations of the researcher constructed interview guide and d) l imitations of recruiting participants. Assumptions 1. Inte rview guides developed for use we re adequate to answer the research questions.

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30 2. Data collected during the academic year 20 09 20 10 w ere considered adequate for the purpose of the study. 3. Demographic data obtained from the participants w ere adequate for th e purposes of the study. 4. Participants provide accurate information that answer ed the research questions. 5. Collecting data using a valid and reliable diabetes knowledge assessment, self care activities measure and an interview guide w ere considered adequate tools for collecting data for the purpose of this study. Summary Chronic illnesses are the leading cause of death worldwide, and nationally In addition, more than 8% of Florida adults have diabetes (FDH, 2005). Diabetes is a chronic illness that requires patient education for self management to adequately control the condition as well as prevent adverse health outcomes that are in large part due to an by good self care behavior s. Diabetes as a c hronic illness is a significant public health problem. health literacy is prevalent among patients with diabetes and associated with a poorer knowledge of the illness and its complications, for example, worse glycemic control and higher rates of retinopathy (Powell et al 2007). However, barriers to education will remain unless health educators, nurses, and other providers make a conscious effort t o simplify care, tailor education, and reduce the perceived complexity of the healthcare system (Nath, 2007). The g oals of Healthy People 2010 (CDC DPHP, and USDHHS, 2008) that address es diabetes and the ADA agendas, if achieved, will improve health outco mes. However, prevention efforts do not effectively meet the needs of those who are low

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31 income and have low litera cy Therefore, more research is needed, especially because someone who has th is ongoing and life long disease. Moreover, worldwide 36 million lives c ould be saved through an annual 2% reduction in chronic disease death rates (WHO, 2005). Consequently, it is important to identify populations particularly at risk an d give them a voice. Health educators also need to better target vulnerable populations to help them develop proper diabetes self management skills. The objective of this study w as to assess a representative group of African American women with T2DM regard ing their knowledge of diabetes and their self care activities and to explore their experiences with their diabetes self care instruction and practices

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32 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This study focus ed on the assessment of diabetes knowledge and self care activities among African American women in North Central Florida. Their perceptions and understanding of diabetes particularly with respect to managing their condition were also explored. This is the first study that applie d the model for understanding the crisis of a chronic illness to (1) assess diabetes knowledge and self care activities in low income African Am erican women and (2) explor e the ir experiences with self care practices from a quantitative and qualitative data collection methodology. Id entifying the factors and processes by which individuals adapt and improve self care behavioral practices by surmounting a series of crisis provide s a shift in the conceptual lens through which diabetes care and treatment programs are viewed today (Misra a nd Lager, 2008). nature of learning to manage their diabetes care (Ellison and Rayman, 1998; Hernandez, 1995; Price, 1993 ; Rayman and Ellison, 2004 ). In early self management r egimens, one study found that individuals set aside their personal preferences despite lifestyle disruption and negative body responses, and were more motivated to follow the prescribed self care practices (Price, 1993), while another study illustrated com parable results in that individuals were adhering to professional advice about their care practices (Hernandez, 1995). In a similar light, another study showed that women, described as good self managers by their providers, described their early time s of l earning self management as chaotic and very difficult (Ellison and Rayman, 1998). However, in more recent studies, a q ualitative study that described the early experiences and day

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33 by day reality of learning to self manage T2DM among women in an intensive c ontrol program (Rayman and Ellison, 2004) sought to identify some of the reasons for this chaos because understanding the problems incurred in the early time of self management is necessary to the design and tim ing of positive intervention management. D efining Chronic Illness and Diabetes includes heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and visual and hearing impairment. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates distinguished diseases that were acute (abrupt, sharp, and brief) from those that were chronic (Shiel and time, and means lasting a long tim e Various defini tions exist for chronic illnesses. For this study, chronic illness is defined as a disease that has one or more of the following characteristics: they are permanent, leave residual disability, are caused by nonreversible pathological alteration, require sp ecial training of the patient for rehabilitation, or may be expected to require a long period of supervision, observation, or care (Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, 2004). The d iabet ic chronic illness was the f ocus f o r this study. Diab etes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2005). There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and 2. Type 1diabetes, ttacks and

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34 destroys its own insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas (NIDDKD, 2005). On the other hand, T2DM formerly called adult onset diabetes, usually develops in adults over the age of 40 but is increasingly prevalent in younger age groups, incl uding children and adolescents It occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes effectively (NIDDKD, 2005). Type 2 diabetes mellitus will be the focus of this study. Chronic Illness and the Health Care System The In (IOM) Crossing the Quality Chasm: A N ew Health S ystem for the 21 st Century 2001 ) outlined six specific aims for improvement in the health and functioning of Americans, one of which is patient centered care. Patient cent ered care and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that healthcare system that achieves patient centered care, in part, w ould more effectively meet their needs (IOM, 2001). Patient centered care is a goal of the IOM and some Health education is a system. Hence, it is particularly imp ortant to examine gaps in health education for individuals with diabetes, within the context of clinical services. For the twenty first century, the ch allenge therefore is to design a system that meets the needs of those with serious and potentially disabling chronic illness and reduce the progression of disability and improve functional status and quality of life. To accomplish this the Chronic Illness Care Improvement Act of 2000 amended T itle XVIII of the Social Security Act, to include the intention to bring about excellence to the care

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35 of chronic illness and help America move forward in identifying proactive strategies to prevent complications and d isability ( U.S. Congress, 2000). Despite t his agenda and the complex care needed for the chronically ill, due in part to diverse service needs delivered by multiple providers in numerous settings, delays in care and worsened conditions exist (Ireys, Thront on, Mckay, 2002). In addition, challenges exist for Medicaid enroll ees recruited as part of the population of interest. Chronically ill Medicaid enrollees also face additional burdens because, this population bears the brunt of disparities for health ca re since they are disproportionately affected by various chronic conditions such as diabetes. The impact of worse conditions means that larger portions of budgets, including the Medicaid budget, are spent on these needs. Medical advances also impact the growing need for diabetes education for self care because t he twentieth century medical discoveries have dramatical ly prolonged the life expectancies of persons with all types of chronic illnesses transform ing many illnesses from rapidly disabling condi tions to chronic conditions that people can live with for a long time. F or the twenty first century therefore the challenge is to reduce the progression of disability and improve the functional status and quality of life of persons with chronic illness. Chronic Illness Care Despite attempts to encourage, cajole, and persuade patients to perform self care tasks, practitioner frustrations mount when patients are unwilling or unable to follow advice and achieve desired outcomes (Fun nell and Anderson, 2003). Traditionally, the success of patients to manage their diabetes has been judged by their ability to adhere to a prescribed therapeutic regimen. Unfortunately, this approach does not match the

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36 reality of diabetes self care. Individ uals need more information and in home guidance about their condition, especially because of the serious and chronic nature of diabetes, the complexity of its management, and the multiple daily self care decisions required of those with diabetes. In this r egard, adhering to a predetermined care program is and Anderson, 2003); the care needs to be flexible yet consistent. Increasing Health Care Costs T oday t he economic bu rden in our society of chronic conditions is great Chronic conditions account for approximately 75 % of the $2+ trillion health care expenditure (CDC, 2009). healthcare system dollars, tre ating chronic conditions is the real culprit affect ing people of different ages, income levels, and geographic regions (Anderson and Knickman, 2001). Chronically ill individuals are expensive to treat within the healthcare system and are a key driver of m edical care costs. In addition, total health care and related costs for the treatment of diabetes runs about $132 billion annually (NIDDKD, 2005). V arious trends and factors impact a diabet care, including limited insurance coverage, medical advan ces, an increasing aging and obese population, greater longevity, and limited prevention and health promotion efforts such as diabetes education. Limited health insurance coverage is one of the greatest challenges facing people It specifically affects th e poor and disabled such as those on Medicaid, especially those wh o are chronically ill ( Anderson and Knickman, 2001 ; Ireys et al., 2002 ). Therefore some argue that the se trends exacerbate the consequences of chronic illnesses to the individual especially because they purport that healthcare system is designed to deliver acute symptom driven crisis management care, it is less effectively configured to financially

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37 contribute to diabetes self care through health promotion, particularly regarding the developm ent of a c ollaborative daily self care plan. The Role of Literacy and Health Literacy in Diabetes Care S ince 2003 h ealth literacy has received increasing attention (Weiss, 2005) According to the Nationa l Health Literacy Act of 2007, health literacy is a ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate healthcare decisions ( U.S. Congress, 2007). It is clear that health literacy involves not only understanding health information but also how to obtain services to integrate care practices, particularly for diabetes self care. The difference between health literacy and general literacy is that general literacy is the basic ability to read, write, and compute, without regard to the conte xt in which the reading and writing occur, while health literacy specifically incorporates the context of health care and assumes that the reading and understanding occurs within the healthcare context (Weiss, 2005). The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently indicated that only 1 in 10 adult Americans have all the skills needed to manage their health, and 12% have the skills to manage their own health care proficiently (AHRQ, 2007). For example, a generally literate individual may have inadequate functional health literacy capabilities in the healthcare environment (Consumer Health Advisory Committee, 2000). The National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) primarily estimates general literacy in the overall population, but also obtain s data o n select sub populations. The elderly and racial and ethnic minority groups were subpopulat ions included in the study, and poorer literacy which disproportionately affected them had prevalence as high as 80%. The NALS also indicated that the African Ameri can population ha d a n il literacy rate of over 41% as

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38 compared to 22% in the general U.S. adult population (Weiss, 2005). Ultimately, this low general literacy seems to cross over, thus translating into poor health literacy in African American populations. To identify the state of the science for overcoming inadequate lite racy in diabetes self care i n a review of the literature between 1990 and 2006 health literacy was found to be a stronger predictor of health status than socioeconomic status, age, or et hnic background (Nath, 2007). The review focused on studies that identified literacy as a factor in self management outcomes highlight ing effective strategies to overcome barriers posed by inadequate literacy. In addition, s tudies of both indigent and Med icare populations indicate that health literacy is lower among older adults (Gazmararian, Williams, Peel, and Baker, 2003). Further, other research suggested that system, provider, and patient factors also contribute to health literacy (Weiss, 2005). Low l iteracy is associated with poor disease related knowledge and self management strategies, worse self reported health status, poor a dherence to treatment, and a 30 to 50% increased risk for hospitalization (P owell et al., 2007 ; Schillinger et al 2002; Wei ss et al, 1992; Williams et al.,1998 ). Furthermore, research also suggests various factors for measuring health literacy. Con tributing factors to measuring health literacy level s consist of reading fluency, prior knowledge, barriers, oral complexity, compl exity of health information, culture, and social norms (Baker, 2006). In addition, depending on the context and setting, health literacy aptitude does not rest only on general reading ability, but also on years of education. One of the first studies to me asure the functional health literacy skills of non indigent patient s with

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39 knowledge of disease and self management skills and outcomes, and confirmed that individuals with inadequate healt h literacy know less abou t their disease (Gazmararian et al., 2003). That study on health literacy and knowledge of chronic disease used a cross sectional survey and measured health literacy using the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S T OFHLA). The sample consisted of 653 Medicare enrollees 65 and older. Results indicate that overall, 24% of patients had inadequate and 12% had marginal health literacy skills. Respondents with inadequate health literacy knew significantly less about their disease than those with adequate literacy. Multivariate analyses indicated that health literacy was independently related to di sease knowledge (Gazmararian et al., 2003). Gazmararian and colleagues (2003) further indicated that there are many oppor to consider their health literacy skills. Knowledge therefore remains an important goal of patient education programs, and the results showed that many patients with inadeq uate functional health literacy, even those who had attended formal diabetes education programs, did not know the basics of their disease and good self management skills (Williams et al., 1998). Past research has shown high rates of limited health litera cy among older adults and even after adjusting for measures of cognitive dysfunction, an association between limited health literacy and age has been found (Baker, 2000). Low income older adults in some studies had reading skills at or below the fourth gra de level, had difficulty understanding information provided by their providers, and learned information from television instead of the healthcare system. Other studies indicate that both lower and

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40 upper socioeconomic strata older adults have low literacy ( Baker, 2000). In persons with limited education, low literacy is present. Hence, those with limited education also have high rates of limited general literacy, with more than 80% of those not finishing high school as reported on the NALS having poor readi ng skills (Weiss, 2005). Various studies also identify the relationship between health literacy and other factors such as diabetes kno wledge, self efficacy, and self care. For example, Sarkar and colleagues (2006) reported an association between self eff icacy and self management that persisted across ethnic groups and health literacy levels. This finding suggests that carefully designed self manageme nt interventions targeting self efficacy may be effective in populations with low literacy. This leaves ke y questions as to how to mobilize and involve patients in their own care and guide them in learning about their diabetes Several factors contribute to self efficacy and improve education outcomes for adults with diabetes, such as providers involving pati ents in their own care and guiding them in actively learning about the disease. In addit ion, Skelly and colleagues (2000 ) indicated that preliminary work must be done to identify concepts that are important to the particular group under study. This call h as been answere d in other studies that focused not only on African Americans, but Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in developing culturally appropriate messages. However, studies such as the present one are needed to continue this research endeavor bec ause the diabetes epidemic continues to rise disproportionately in minority populations. In the healthcare setting, literacy has been measured by the two most widely used instruments: the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM, available onl y in

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41 English) and the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA, available in English and Spanish) (Weiss, 2005). Specifically, the REALM is a word recognition test where individuals read from a list of progressively more difficult medical words and the maximum difficulty level at which words can be read and pronounced correctly defines their health literacy. The TOFHLA is an inherently more difficult test than the REALM because it involves reading appointment slips, interpreting prescriptions, and filling in missing words on a consent form (Weiss, 2005). Regarding diabetes care, there are complex regimen s that need to be followed, and such layered problems such as language exist to achieve this care, culture, and an intricate healthcare system that is difficult to navigate (Nath, 2007). All these factors can make the self care burden for diabetes overwhelming, especially to someone with inadequate literacy. Diabetes, Literacy, and Health Outcomes Seminal works have defined the effect of litera cy on health outcomes in the United States. First, the IOM report (2001 ) concluded that most health professionals and policymakers lack understanding about the barriers posed by inadequate health literacy. Second, an AHRQ report (2007 ) found an association between inadequate literacy, as measured by reading skills, and several adverse health outcomes, including increased incidence of chronic illness, relatively poor intermediate disease markers, and suboptimal use of preventive health services (Nath, 2 007). Past intervention studies within a group setting have tried to meet the needs of diverse groups, such as combining those with diabetes type 1 and 2, combining males and females, and including individuals from wide age range s and diverse ethnic backgrounds (Brown,

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42 1999). However, separating groups based on characteristics and keeping groups small has resulted in better compliance (Brown, 1999). Though successful diabetes care includes such needed factors as two way communication between healthcare provide rs and patients and involvement of patients in treatment decisions the active participation of patients in self care and goal setting are key. Those with inadequate health literacy however may lack the skills to accomplish such tasks, and find it difficu lt or impossible to access and understand healthcare information and instructions or to implement recommended behaviors (Nath, 2007). In 2000, Skelly and colleagues developed and tested culturally sensitive instruments for African American women with T2D M. The purpose was to present a method for developing new instruments and/or modifying existing instruments to identify and measure important sociocultural constructs that influence self care practices by these women Results from this study indicate that perceptions of self efficacy were high among group members for certain diabetes self care activities (e.g., administering medication, home blood glucose monitoring), yet participants fe lt least confident about their diet and physical activity practices (Sk elly, Samuel Hodge, Elasy, Ammerman, Headen, and Keyserling, 2000). Knowledge of diabetes among group members was limited; for example, several participants expressed uncertainty about the meaning of blood glucose values and the rationale for treatment re commendations, particularly those relating to diet. (Skelly et al., 2000). Moreover, questions were raised about the most fundamental areas of self care It was found that many participants had received inadequate diabetes education or the

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43 effectiveness of the diabetes education they had received was limited by lack of comprehension of basic terminology often used by healthcare providers (Skelly et al., 2000). In the large review of intervention studies commissioned by AHRQ, Pignone and colleagues (2005) fo und several interventions related to knowledge outcomes but few dedicated to health behaviors such as dietary patterns. In addition, self efficacy, a term perform he alth behaviors influences which behaviors they will engage in (Bandura, 1986) This is reinforced by past research that indicates personal evaluation of health is a complex process not fully understood (Silverman, Smola and Musa, 2000; Idler, 1999), and th et al. 2000). Vul nerable Populations and African Americans Vulnerable populations are defined as social groups who have an increased re lative risk or susceptibility to adverse health outcomes (Flaskerud and Winslow, 1998 ) evidenced by increased morbidity, premature mortality, and diminished quality of life. These vulnerable groups are the poor and persons subject to discrimination, intole rance, subordination and stigma, politically marginalized, disenfranchised and denied human rights and typically include women and children, ethnic people of color, immigrants, gay men and lesbians, the homeless, and the elderly (Flaskerud and Winslow, 19 98). For example, on averag e, African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes as non Hispanic whites of similar age. Thirteen percent of African Americans age d 20 years and older have diabetes (NIDDKD, 2005). Until the twentieth century mos t Americans of African ancestry lived in the south without any formalized system of health care. Today in the twenty first century the

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44 advent of health clinics and Medicaid and Medicare have made those who traditionally have had limited access to and exp erience with the healthcare system receive care and us e services although poverty and inadequate health care continue to be a problem in health care delivery Further disparit ies in health status are discussed extensively since lifestyle, reduced access t o heath care resources, lack of health insurance, limited knowledge of health promotion disease prevention behaviors and practices, and certain genetic variables contribute to disparities in health status (Ashley, 1999). Further, individuals from differe nt race s are not homogeneous. Slavery, despite what some think, was not the beginning of differences in African Americans as a group (Ashley, 1999); rather these differences existed above and beyond that experience because of migration to the United States Hence, great diversity within the general population as well as those in the African ancestry exists about attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs. Compared to other groups in the United States, African Americans lag behind on most health indicators, particula rly for diabetes. Further, African Americans are more susceptible to cancer, heart disease and stroke, death by homicide and unintentional injuries, infant mortality, and substance abuse (Ashley, 1999). Unfortunately some of these disparities go un addres sed and one of the main goals of Healthy People 2010 today is reducing disparities in health. Diabetes is one disease that disproportionately affects minority populations. The fact that the gap exists today suggests that social factors, for example, inad equate education and public access to healthcare to name a few, still play a significant role in health outcomes with sociocultural and behavioral lifestyle issues being highly correlated with these disparities (Ashley, 1999).

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45 It is therefore evident th at meanings applied to health by various ethnic groups also vary substantially. For example, a study of 114 Medicare community dwellers of older African American s and whites with chronic illnesses by Silverman et al. (2000) found participants frequently as signed the attribute of the presence of functional capacities as being healthy. African Americans, more than whites, mostly attributed the absence of medical and physical symptoms as being healthy. In addition, African Americans did not mention psycholog ical attributes for being either healthy or not healthy while whites did so when defining the meaning of healthy. Whites also generally identified more attributes when characterizing the condition of not being healthy Similar to other literature, this s tudy suggested that health is a multidimensional experiences than is a designati on of not healthy With regard to the elements of achieving successful programs in co mmunities such as low income, low literate African American communit ies, need assessment s program plan development, implementation, and evaluation are essential (Ashley, 1999). Although health education is an effective tool to potentially improv e the hea lth status of Americans, more needs to be done. Furthermore, in African American communities, a lack of health education still plays a key role, especially since the most elementary information about disease and disease prevention very often is deficient i n this population (Ashley, 1999). Further, though chronic illness is not the exclusive domain of older adult s a ge plays an important role in the development of chronic illness, and approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disorder (Ho lmes, 2006). Hence, as the

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46 population ages, and obesity becomes more prevalent, the need for diabetes education and self care is urgent (Lewis, 2007). In addition, the prevalence of diabetes among adults in Florida has also continued to increase (Florida D ep artmen t of Health, 2005). The prevalence of obesity among people with diabetes is 44.6%, more than twice the rate of those who do not have diabetes (FDH, 2005). Among race, the prevalence of obesity varies; non Hispanic blacks have a higher prevalence of obesity (62.1% than non Hispanic whites (42.6%). The prevalence of obesity among non Hispanic black women is significantly higher (70.9%) than that for non Hispanic white women (44.1%) and non Hispanic white men (41.2%) (FDH, 2005) The prevalence also si gnificantly differ s by age. People between 45 and 64 years have a higher prevalence (55.7%) of obesity than ad ult s 65 years and older (34.7%) (FDH, 2005) For the purpose of this study, African American women with diabetes will be the vulnerable populatio n of interest. This population was chosen not only because of the increasing prevalence of diabetes in this population, but also because greater insight will be obtained into gaps in self management practices to be tter guide future interventions and polici es for health promotion and prevention, and to improve treatment initiatives for this population. Importa nce of Culture in Diabetes Self c are The diabetes and behavioral change literature emphasizes the importance of l beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions because these factors are also important determinants of the ways in which people with diabetes be have with respect to their self care (Skelly and Spollett, 1996). It is therefor e imperative that prevention of worsening conditions and promotion of ongoing care are a constant focus for improving the system. In addition,

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47 l imited work addresses the unique needs of sicker patients from their perspective; r esearchers suggest that more studies examining the experiences of vulnerable populations with poor health status are needed, particularly because this group has more extensive needs and higher utilization (Mason et al., 2002). Further, the Silverman et al. ( 2000 ) study suggested that health is a multidimensional construct, and as such, would be a designation of not healthy. In addition, past research has provided limited information on the sociocultural factors tha t influence self care practices among Af rican Americans with diabetes. For this study it is also anticipated that various factors, including but not limited to, sociocultural factors may emerge from the data. This will be important to add another dimension to t he literature by identifying tho se factors that help future researchers to find ways to measure the sociocultural variables that affect self care practices in minority populations. Management of Diabetes and the Role of Self Care The consumer shift in health care, which advocates for patients taking more active roles in medical encounters and engaging in increased self care, has gained increasing momentum since the 1980s and has spurred growing research attention to chronic illness self management re search (Gallant, 2003). Self management of chronic illness refers to the daily activities that individuals undertake to control their illness, minimize its impact on physical health status and functioning, and cope with the psychosocial process of the ill ness (Clark, Beker, Janz, Lorig and Rakowski, 1991 ; Gallant, 2003 ). Consequently, self

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48 some independence regarding adjusting the regimen is essential and requires deliberate decision mak ing and problem solving (Gallant, 2003). Diabetes self management education plays a specific role in diabetes care because it is an ongoing process of facilitating the knowledge, skill, and ability necessary for diabetes self care (Funnell et al., 200 9 ). This education incorporates the needs, goals, and life experiences of the diabetic for the ultimate outcomes of informed decision making, self care behaviors, problem solving, and active collaboration with the healthcare team to improve clinical outcomes, health status, and quality of life (Funnell et al 200 9 ). Successful self management requires the mastering of three sets of tasks: (1) making informed decisions about care, (2) performing activities aimed at management of the condition, and (3) applyi ng the skills necessary for maintaining adequate psychos ocial functioning (Clark et al., 1991). In addition, Clark and colleagues (1991) indicated that although self management tasks are specific to an illness, for example measuring blood glucose for diab etes, there are also core self management tasks that are common to all illness categories that include physical activity, smoking cessation, maintaining diet, recognizing and r esponding to symptoms, and taking medications properly to list a few. For many vulnerable populati ons, increased barriers to self care exist. They may include a lack of financial resources, unawareness that services even exist, fear or distrust of large (or small) institutions, lack of transportation, and low health literacy. Alt houg h communities may have various diabetes self management education

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49 programs, these target populations may not take advantage of them or fail to incorporate them in to their daily lives. Increasingly, empirical research indicates that successful self manage ment of chronic illness is related to better overall physical and psychological health ou tcomes (Clark et al., 1991; Gallant, 2003; Fisher, Arfken, Heins, Houston, Jeffe, S ykes,1997). Further, Gallant ( 2003 ) indicated that a full understanding of the socia l context of chronic illness self management may result in key implications for the design of interventions that seek to enhance self management behavior as well as for the health and well being of individuals with chronic illness. Randomized controlled trials of self management educational interventions have been shown to influence positive health outcomes for individuals with heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and other illnesses ( Bailey et al., 1990 ; Bartholomew et al., 1997; Clark et al., 1997; Clark, Janz, Dodge, Schork, Fingerlin, Wheeler, Liang, Keteyian, Santinga, 2000; Gallant, 2003; Lorig and Holman, 1993 ). Factors Affecting Diabetes Self care Correlates of knowledge for diabetes self care include socioeconomic status, length of time with dise as e, glycemic control, and self care activities. Evidence from previous research highlights these factors in the literature that illustrate the se associations. Table 2 1 indicates the variables used in the study. Socioeconomic Factors In 2000, the U.S. Cente rs for Disease Control assessed the socioeconomic status (SES) of women with diabetes from data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The findings indicated that women with diabetes in 2000 had markedly lower SES levels than women wh o did not have diabetes (CDC, 2002).

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50 Though SES incorporates factors such as income, size of household, marital status, employment status, and living arrangements, for the CDC study women were classified as having a low SES if they did not complete high sc hool or lived in a household with an annual income of less than $25,000. Findings suggest that a higher educational level may influence a woma making while those women with higher income may have better access to health care, higher living sta ndards, and other material benefits that have a positive impact on health (CDC, 2002). Similarly, in this present study, SES will refer to low i ncome women (annual household income < $25 ,000) and mostly those with less than a high school degree as well as women with less than a four year college degree Level of I ncome A woma n with diabetes, whose annual individual household income wa s less than or equal to $25 ,000 at the time of the study was regarded as low income It is important to identify if level of income in the literature is associated with factors such glycemic control for other populations where race and gender were the same and the population was more homogenous. Other studies did not identify a relationship between glycemic control to socioec onomic status or access to medical care in racial or ethnic groups studied (Harris, Eastman, Cowie, Flegal and Eberhardt, 1999). The function of identifying level of income will be to describe any association that may emerge from women with low SES with th eir diabete s knowledge for self care Level of E ducation Numerous studies confirmed an association between (1) inadequate health literacy and adverse outcomes in patients with diabetes and (2) a poor match between readability of printed materials, intern et offerings, and interactive multimedia and the

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51 population for which the materials are intended (Nath, 2007). In addition, depending on the context and setting, health literacy aptitude does not rest only on general reading ability, but also on years of e ducation (Consumer Health Advisory Committee, 2000). The l iteracy category used the level of education which represent ed the years of education that wa s less than a four year college degree. Further, determinants of health literacy also include age, langu age, race ethnicity, employment, SES and environment (Pawlak, 2005). One study using a qualitative study explored how older adults with multiple illnesses make choices about medic ations and r esults indicated that there was onalities. However, a limitation to the study was that educational attainment was not determined. As previously discussed, education, specifically level of literacy was a strong predictor of self care behaviors. Health education is a prerequisite for effec tive self management of diabetes, but previous research corroborates that knowledge does not necessarily predict outcome (Nath, 2007). Therefore, in populations that have large knowledge deficits, even a small increase in knowledge may contribute to improv ed self care (Nath, 2007). Length of Time with Disease Other factors such as duration of disease may be stronger predictors of metabolic control (Nath, 2007). This has been used in previous work regarding its impact on glycemic control. I t will also b e used i n this study and referred to as length of time diagnosed with diabetes which is greater than one year upon entering the study Glycemic Control Testing of HbA1C values is now the main way to measure and track glycemic control in diabetics, and pat ients knowledge of these values may be useful as a precondition for their involvement in their diabetes self management (Harris, Piette,

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52 Spencer, Kiefer, Vijan, 2005). Therefore achieving metabolic control requires improved diabetes self management espec ially because it helps to reduce diabetes complications as well as improve quality of life (Misra and Lager, 2008). The single most important clinical characteristic of the individual with diabetes is the blood glucose level because this defines the disea se and is a major risk factor for complications of diabetes (Harris, Eastman, Cowie, Flegal and Eberhardt, 1999). Further, Harris and colleagues ( 1999 ) conducted one of the first studies that evaluated glycemic control in a representative sample of U.S. ad ults with T2DM They found that most patients had not self monitored and the use of multiple daily insulin injections was more common in whites than non Hispanic African Americans non Hispanic whites, and Mexican Americans. Glycemic control in a general sense refers to the typical levels of blood sugar, more specifically, glucose, in an individual with diabetes. This is a factor used repeatedly in the literature as a variable of interest for selection of subjects for various studies. In addition, an exten sive review of intervention studies commissioned by AHRQ, DeWalt and colleagues in 2004 looked at interventions that examined an independent relationship between reading ability and metabolic outcomes. One study in part sought to describe the changes in g lycemic control among the adult U.S. population diagnos ed with T2DM between1999 and 2000. Their data supported the key public health message of early and aggressive management of diabetes (Koro, Bowlin, Bourgeois and Fedder, 2004). Further, Koro and collea gues (2004) also illustrated that treatment regimens of diet and exercise, plus proper self administration of insulin, or oral hypoglycemic agents have been shown to improve glycemia, but more disease management that includes greater patient self participa tion is needed and

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53 recommended. In past studies glycemic control rates were calculated as the proportion of individuals with T2DM with an HbA1C level of less than 7% (Koro et al., 2004 ). Other studies also calculated glycemic control as the proportion of HbA1C less than 7%. (Koro, Bowlin, Bourgeois, and Fedder, 2004; Rothman et al., 2005). For this study, glycemic control is the typical levels of blood sugar, more specifically glucose, in an individual with diabetes, between than or less than 70 and 120 mg /dL [3.89 6.67] of their glucose level In 2003, a qualitative study of problem solving and diabetes control in T2DM self management was conducted with 186 low income African Americans to explore and compare diabetes related problem solving in this urban population in good and poor diabetes control (Hill Briggs, Cooper, Loman, Brancati and Cooper, 2003). Two focus groups were studied, one with participants with good control and the other with participants with poor control. HbA1C value was measured within last three months. Primary types of problems with diabetes self management were similar in the good control and poor control groups (Hill Briggs et al., 2003). Further, predominant problem solving themes in the good control group reflected a positive orie ntation toward diabetes self management and problem solving, a rational problem solving process, and a positive transfer of experience. However, those in the poor control group revealed a negative orientation, careless and avoidant problem solving processe s, and a negative transfer of past learning to new situati ons (Hill Briggs et al., 2003). However, improved knowledge alone does not correlate with improved glycemic control, and evidence show that providing more information is not enough t o motivate pati ents (Heisler Piette,

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54 Spencer, Kieffer, Vijan 2005). Rather, this study measure d knowledge for particular self care in a less studied population In sum, although research has shown that various factors i mpact people with diabetes such as self efficac y, stress management, goal setting, and decision making improve metabolic control, it is not known if these factors are similarly effective in low literacy populations with diabetes (Nath, 2007). Knowledge for Diabetes Self c are Both limited literacy a nd health literacy are prevalent among patients with diabetes, and are associated with poorer knowledge of the illness and its complications, worse glycemic control, and higher rates of retinopathy (Powell et al 2007). In addition, past research showed t hat comprehensive diabetes disease management programs, with educational strategies appropriate for low literate patients, were of greater benefit to patients with low literacy than those with higher literacy (Rot hman, Malone, Brayant, Horlen, DeWalt, Pign one, 2004). Since one of the pri mary goals for diabetes management is effective self care of T2DM, th us individuals must have and apply knowledge about their condition, specifically regarding i ts various symptoms and how to treat it (Rothman et al., 2005 ). In addition, the knowledge an individual assimilates is critical to assess the impact of intermediary role to improve patient outcomes. Further, despite diabetes education, various studies indicate that knowledge deficits are evident in low literate diabetics. Knowledge gaps exist for individuals regarding diabetes self management care, and it is managemen t practices. Although knowledge alone does not motivate action particularly for self care

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55 activities, this will be used as a measure to assess if this holds true for our less studied population and the identified assessment will be further explored in the qualitative values, motivations, and goals that have been shown to be more effective in addressing barriers to improving se lf care activities (Heisler et al., 2005). Self M anagement Activities Clark and colleagues (1991) indicated that although self management tasks are specific to an illness, for example measuring blood glucose for diabetes, there are also core self management tasks that are common to all illness categorie s These include physical activity, smoking cessation, maintaining diet, recognizing and responding to symptoms, and using medications, to list a few. T he summary of the diabetes self care activities (SDSCA) measure has been administered as a self completi on questionnaire, and is one of the most widely used self report ing instrument s for measuring diabetes self management in adults (Toobert, Hampson, Glasgow, 2000). The key activities included in this measure are diet, exercise, blood sugar testing, foot c are, and smoking. Measures in Diabetes Various scales are available to measure diabetes related issues. These include, but are not limited to, the Diabetes Health Belief Model scale (DHBM), Diabetes Knowledge Test (DKT), Diabetes Risk Improvement Scale, and the Diabetes Self Management Tool (D SMART), the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literacy Diabetes scale (SKILLD), and the Summary of Diabetes Activities measure, to name a few. The DKT is a 14 item general multiple choice test, and a 9 item insulin use subs cale is used to related knowledge. The DHBM scale is an 11 question health

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56 beliefs questionnaire that operationalizes the health belief model for indiv iduals with diabetes (Powell et al 2007). The Diabetes Risk Improvement Sca le allows either the patient to fill out the scale and score it or scores are entered into a provider database to help identify patients in need of care by the practitioner. D SMART is a patient self report instrument that captures the assessment informati on on diabetes health status, knowledge, skill, confidence, barriers, and current self management behaviors. For the purpose of this study, the SKILLD will be used to assess African American their diabetes self care issues. The SKIL LD is a 10 item oral questionnaire that measures diabetes knowledge about self care issues (Rothman et al 2005). This scale was a recently validated scale, developed to combat some of the concerns with past scales that used multiple choice question s, and will be used to measure diabetes knowledge specifically as it relates to self care issues. In the past, close ended questions that were typically multiple choice made it particularly difficult for those with low literacy to navigate through the responses. The diabetes activities measure is a multidimential measure of diabetes self management with internal and test retest reliability and evidence of validity and sensitivity to change, revised in the last few years ; it consists of a core set of 11 items (To obert, Hampson, and Glasgow, 2000). An extended version of the scale also exists but for the purpose of the study, the core items will be used. The scale also consists of five areas around which questions are organized and include diet, exercise, blood s ugar testing, foot care and smoking.

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57 Diabetes Education Diabetes education contributes to how different behaviors and choices affect health outcomes both for better and worse and can help address incorrect assumptions and learning (CDC, 2005). Important ly, health education helps impart care action plans, as well as adopt self management behaviors. Prolonged planning and routine monitoring, prevention, coordination of care, education, and self management are constantly needed for those with chronic illnesses. However, far too often, prevention and health promotion is shortchanged despite the fact that chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabete s are among the most prevalent and costly, yet are the most preventable of all health problems (CDC, 2005). In a review of the diabetes education literature, a comparison of findings reported prior to the 1990s, to findings since 1990, recent changes a nd patterns in diabetes self management education exist, such that trends in interventions involving diabetes self management education have evolved from education only, to include behavioral models and with more attention to interventions for specific mi nority populations (Brown, 1999). This is a positive step in the right direction, but the increasing rates of diabetes morbidity and mortality and the disease burden of this chronic illness particularly for low income, low literate African American popula tions suggest that education is needed that actually helps translate knowledge into self management skill practices I n 2007 t he American Association of Diabetes Educators took steps to outline what diabetes educators must do by officially defining diabe tes education, also known as diabetes self management training (DSMT), as a process that requires collaboration through which people with or at risk for diabetes gain knowledge and skills needed to

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58 modify behavior and effectively manage the disease and it s related conditions (Funnel et al., 2007) The step aims to achieve optimal health status, better quality of life, and a reduc tion in the need for costly health care. Further, diabetes education has seven self care behaviors that are deemed essential for improved health status and quality of life and they include healthy eating, being active, monitoring, taking medication, problem solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks. This is an encouraging step for diabetes educators who seek to educate and empower those with diabetes. However, factors that contribute to the gap between actual delivery of these skills taught and their implementation need to be further explored identified and improved (Funnel et al., 2007). The current study documented some of this target populations experiences with their diabetes, their self management practices and the gaps as perceived by these participants in adapting the self care education from the healthcare system into practical use in their homes. Past studies have also id entified the importance of improving patient provider communication as a key strategy for advancing patient involvement in setting own goals. For example, ( Nath 2007 ) identified some of these techniques to improve communication bet ween provid ers and patients who had inadequate literacy. The se techniques included more frequent use of oral and visual instructions; limiting instructions to essential information only; making instruc tions interactive with patients to demonstrat e their understanding of the topic; and encouraging the assistance of which patients paraphrase their understanding of information (Nath, 2007).

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59 Summary An improved paradigm for high quality chronic illness care is urgently needed and this care should seek to promote increase e s and preferences. Regardless o f cultural background, race, or level of education, the effects of inadequate diabetes knowledge and self c are activities are detrimental to the individual and society. It is vital that researchers continue to assess knowledge and self care activities for diabetes particularly because, if diabetes is managed effectively, you get positive outcomes. This literatu re review not only defined chronic illnesses but also looked at how chronic illnesses are placed within the health care system and the care costs associated with chr onic illnesses, the role of culture and health literacy in diabetes self care. A brief focus on the vulnerable population of interest and their role in diabetes self management was also highlighted. Common factors associated with diabetes that will be us ed to make associations in the current study were also explored. The various scales used to measure aspects of diabetes self care were also covered, focusing ultimately on the scales that were appropriate for this current study. I ncreasing healthcare cost s, medical advances, obesity, and age however, all impact diabetes, especially for minority women, and increase d self care skills and practices are needed by this population. In addition, the healthcare system has been deemed to lack patient centered care, and the literature reports that patients need to be given more of a voice in research efforts and education targeted to improve their care and self care In addition, only l imited research addresses the unique needs of sicker patients from their perspect ive, and in many ways the health system does not appear patient

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60 centered or coordinated. Consequently, i t is also imperative that investigators explore the meanings assigned t o chronic illnesses and how they impact various self care behaviors. These study data will provide direction for diabetes health educators and researchers to better target the needs of vulnerable populations. Table 2 1. List of variables for Quantitative study Variable Explanatory Background and Personal Factors Socioeconomic status Literacy level (level of Education) Illness Related Factors Length of time with disease (diabetes) Glycemic control Outcome Outco me of the Illness Knowledge for diabetes self C are Diabetes self care activities (includes: general diet, specific diet, exercise, blood sugar testing, foot care and smoking)

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61 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self care activities and explore the experiences of African American women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). T his study used a correlational embedded mixed methods design and provided applications to different parts of a modified model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness. Specifically, the study was designed to (1) assess knowledge about diabetes in African American women; (2) explore the associations between African American education, (b) length of time with diabetes, (c) glycemic control, and (d) self care activities; and (3) explore experi ences of African American women in managing their diabetes as well as their understanding of diabetes. This chapter describes the methodology used to conduct this study. Each of the following areas will be presented and discussed: (1) theoretical p erspec tive; (2) research design, (3) research methods, w hich include (a) settings and participants (b) instrumentation, (c) scientific integrity (d) data collection and recr uitment plan, (4) data analysis, (5) limitations, and (6) summary. Theoretical Perspe ctive Model for Unde rstanding the Diabetic Illness Quantitative Study one of the first, was inspired by dealt with t he impact of disruptions on established patterns of personal an d social identity (Moos, 1982). S ince a person cannot remain in an extreme state of disequilibrium, within a period of time, some resolution no matter how temporary, must

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62 be found and equilibr ium reestablished. The crisis experience evokes a new balance achieved, or a transitional period or turning point that may be a healthy adaptation with personal growth and maturation or a maladaptive response with psychological deterioration or decline tha t impacts an term ability to meet future crises (Moos, 1982 ). The theoretical perspective that guides this study is the model developed by Rudolph Moos and Vivian Tsu in 1977 to understand the crisis of a physical illness. Th is crisis th eory has provided a conceptual framework for preventive mental health care and for dealing with severe physical illness or injury, where the crisis of a physical illness is an unusually potent stressor that may extend over a long period of time and lead to permanent changes among patients and their families (Moos, 1982). In addition to diabetes, the model has been used in the past for studies on impairment, disability s bereavement and crisis intervention for children and families. In 1996, the model was used to explore the quality of life, life experiences and characteristics relevant to quality of life of Thai women living with diabetes ( Puavilai 1996) This study would be the first to apply the Moos model for low income African American women within a specified age range living in North Central Florida The model (Fig. 1 1) helps to frame the present study which identif ies the diabetes illness experience especially in the tim e just after diagnosis, as a crisis. Th e Moos Tsu (1977) model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness is considered appropriate for this study for several reasons: 1) it identifies factors relating to the illness experience : a) background and personal factors (precursors), b) illness

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63 related factors, c) and the physical and social environment of the individual during the lifetime of the stressful chronic illness then d) links them to the outcomes illustrated in the literature; 2) it illustrate s that a significance puts in motion basic skills and experiences including adaptive tasks that result in the application of various coping skills; and 3) it identifies the successful res olution of the crisis which in this case is diabetes knowledge about self care a nd diabetes activities for self care. Their model was also particularly useful to this study because it appropriately explained variables used in this study as they are associ ated with outcomes in the literature, and that were anticipated for this study as well. In addition, their model was relevant to this study in that it can be focuse d on the individual living with her diabetes, a chronic lifetime illness perceived as a cris is, and the diabetes knowledge outcomes that may or may not be present in this population. In the Moos Tsu model, serious physical illness or injury is understood as a life crisis. The life crisis of a major, chronic physical illness upsets the equilibriu m of people, here wome n with diabetes precipitat ing a crisis and need for adaptation to restore equilibrium Further, the severity of a crisis stems from an unexpected diagnosis and the n, typically existing for a lengthy time, affecting permanent changes in the individual and family life (Moos, 1982; Puavilai, 1996). The current study applied and augmented factors included in their model. In the case of this study it w as assumed that di abetes is a chronic physical conditio n that causes crises in the lives of the African American women in our s tudy The term crisis may seem overly dramatic, but was used because the increasing rates of diabetes in this population point to ignorance about t he causes of the disease,

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64 inadequate or too infrequent instruction and follow up on diabetic self care, and resistance by many individuals to adaptation to diabetes resulting in maladaptive responses and further crises Also the changing nature of an indiv diabetes over time can result in repeated disequilibrium or disorganization in diabetics lives (Puavilai, 1996). The s e crisis period s may be transient but occur throughout the rest of the life cycle of women with diabetes, their severity often de pending on the quality of their self care. For the purpose of this study the conceptual model for understanding the crisis of physical illness was modified as in the Puavilai study in 1996 and categorized into three components. The categories were viewed slightly different from the previous study when it was applied to Thai women with diabetes (Pauvilai, 1996). The components are: (1) precursor s (2) skills and experience s and (3) outcomes of the crisis. See F igure 3 1 for the modified version of the Mo os model. Precursors are the first component of the model and will include three factors: background and personal factors, illness related factors and physical and social environmen tal factors. All these factors imp act skills and experiences that ultimat ely influence the negative or positive outcome s of the crisis. The first component was the focus of the primary quantitative study as it relates to outcomes. This model was valuable to t he study because it focused on a experience of living with a lifetime chronic condition. Through the components of the model women with diabetes learn how to live with their chronic condition and the outcome is either positive or negative depending on their ability and willingness to engage in go od self care.

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65 Precursors Background and personal c haracteristics This included age, gender, socioeconomic status, intelligence, cognitive and emotional development, ego strength and self esteem, philosophical or religious beliefs, and previous illness es and coping experiences. Only age, gender, and socioeconomic status were obtained from the self report survey by the participant. Ego strength and self esteem were not identified in either the qualitative or quantitative data sets, but philosophical or rel igious beliefs, and previous illness es and coping experiences were considered when analyzing the findings for the qualitative study. These factors determine the meaning that the illness carries for an individual and affect the psychological and the intell ectual resources available to meet the crisis (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982). In this study, the proxy for intelligence o utlined in the original model, was level of education attained. According to the original model, a nother important aspect of th e back ground and personal characteristics was timing of an illness in the life cycle, as individuals who were diagnosed with the disease later in life may have more maturity and draw from experiences to cope with the illness that threatens life goals and establi shed roles (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982). This was considered under the following section illness related factors, when describing the relationship of variables for this study and duration of disease was used to capture the length of time with diabetes. P recursors I llness related factors According to the model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness, t hese include the type and location of symptoms, a key component in defining the exact nature of the tasks the individuals face d and their adaptive responses. Different organs and functions may have a psychological significance not pertaining to the biological

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66 factors related to survival (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982) F or example, loss of vision in an eye from diabetes may have more psychological s ignificance than a severe diabetes hyperglycemic crisis that if left untreated may directly threaten life. For the purpose of this study, a modification was made regarding time since diagnosed with diabetes which was placed in this section referred to in this study as length of time with diabetes. Precursors P hysical and social environmental factors The se factors specifically affect the adaptive tasks patient choice and outcome of the co ping skills used including the aesthetic s of the surroundings, the amount of personal space available, and the degree of sensory morale ; the social or human environment consisting of the relationships of patients and their family, features of the work settings, social supports in the wider community and sociocultural norms and expectations (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982). For the purpose of this study, a modification was made to this section and referred in this study as social support, primarily collected from the qualitative component of the study. Skills and experience The second component of the model was the skills and experience and includes appraisal and activation, major adaptive tasks, and major type s of coping skills. The skills and experience section of the model w as best illustrated from the qualitative study and addressed in the findings section The factors that comprise the skills and experiences component: appraisal and activation, major adapt ive tasks, and major types of coping skills are explained below.

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67 Skills and experience cognitive appraisal. This was defined as the way in which the potential stressor was perceived, and may or may not be a mediating factor. Activation or arousal occurred when the environment was appraised as necessitating a response which fosters efforts to adapt and cope. The nature of these tasks w as affected by the meaning of the illness, by personal factors, and by the selection of relevant coping skills that were inf luenced by environmental factors. The result of adaptation and coping may affect the outcome of the crisis. From this crisis, an that result in the application of var ious coping skills (Moos, 1982) Skills and experience adaptive tasks. T he adaptive tasks included two key categories illness related tasks and general tasks. The illness related tasks include d dealing with symptoms, environment and treatment procedures and relationship maintenance with healthcare staff. G eneral tasks included being able to preserve (a) reasonable emotional balance, (b) satisfactory self image and sense of competence and mastery, (c) relationships with family and friends, and (d) prepa ration for an uncertain future (Moos, 1982). Skills and experience coping skills. These consisted of mental and behavioral components of an individual, viewed as positive and teachable which may be used individually, consecutively, or in various combinat ions. The coping skills are seven adaptive tasks typically used: (a) denying or minimizing the seriousness of the crisis; (b) seeking information about the illness, treatment procedures, and probable outcomes; (c) learning specific illness related procedur es such as giving self insulin injections or running a home dialysis machine; (d) maintaining a regular routine and setting concrete

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68 limited goals; (e) managing self presentation and ability to request needed reassurance and support; (f) preparing self me ntally and rehears ing potential alternative outcomes; and (g) finding a general purpose or pattern of meaning in the course of events. This component of the model was also applied based on the qualitative data obtained. The skills and experiences were impo rtant for the ultimate phase, the outcome (Moos, 1982). Combined, the two components, precursors, then skills and experiences determine the outcome of the crisis (Moos & Tsu, 1977). Outcome The third component of the mo del i s the outcome of the illness, and represents either a healthy adaptation that promotes personal growth and maturation or a maladaptive response which signifies psychological deterioration and decline (Moos, 1982). For this study, both knowledge about self care as well as performing dia betes self care activities determined the outcome of the illness for the individual In sum, the adapted model for understanding a physical illness was reworked. The first section was grouped under the general heading of precursors which include backgrou nd and personal characteristics, illness related factors and physical and social environmental factors which collectively influence one another and affect the self care skills and experiences of a person which subsequently impacts their self care knowledge and self care activities. Explanatory Model The explanatory model was used to construct the interview guide for the qualitative portion of the study. Using this model was important because e xplanatory models in corporate factors about an episode of sickne ss and its treatment employed by all those engaged in the clinical process (Kleinman, 1980). Explanatory models also

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69 explain sickness and treatment that guides choices among available therapies an d therapists and gives personal and social meaning to the ex perience of sickness. Kleinman distinguished explanatory models from general beliefs about sickness and health care, in that general beliefs belong to the health ideology of the different healthcare sectors and exist independent of and prior to a given ep isode of ill ness. An are marshaled in respons e to particular illness episode (Kleinman, 1980). Individual explanatory models were anchored in a different explanatory system an d social structural arrangement comprising the separate sections of a local healthcare system (Kleinman, 1980). This explanatory model therefore was invaluable for constructing the semi structured interview guide to obtain the perceptions and experiences of the participants for the qualitative arm of the study Research Design To address the research questions, this study used a primary data source, a community sampl e from a North Central Florida c ommunity. The design that represented the best option to answer the research questions in this study was an embedded mixed method design (Creswell & Clark, 2007). This design had both a quantitative and a qualitative component. The qualitative data p layed a supportive role to the quantitative data and was colle cted during the same time frame. The chosen design was appropriate for this study because it allowed different sets of research questions to be answered without necessarily merging the data sets. U sing this design a pplications to different parts of the model of understanding the crisis of a physical illness w ere also possible i dentifying perceived factors that impeded

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70 knowledge that could promote behavior change may help better target healthcare needs. The quantitative data was used to answer the foll owing research questions in the correlational design: 1) What knowledge level do African American women with diabetes have about their diabetes? 2) Wa s African American care associated with income, year s of edu cation, length of time with diabetes, and glycemic control? Null Hypotheses H01 Respondent no associations to a) income, b) years of education, c) length of time with diabetes, and d) glycemic control. 3) What were the associations be tween African American knowledge for diabetes self care and their self care activities? Null Hypothesis H02. knowledge for diabetes self care and their self care activities. The qu alitative data, embedded within the correlational design, answered anot her set of research questions: 4) What we re African American What adaptive tasks and coping skills did they use? 5) How d id African American women perceive their diabetes? What was their perceived meaning of diabetes? The reason for collecting this qualitative data was to provide support for the primary data and delve into various perceptions, skills, and experiences that impact the diabetes knowledge or knowledge gap of the participants. I n the quantitative study t he assessments themselves would not adequately capture the necessary information to answer the research questions.

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71 This design was used to illustrate the modified version of th e crisis of a physical illness. Moreover the mixed methods study most appropriately allowed for the assessment of diabetes knowledge and self care activities through the quantitative study and self care practices and the diabetes illness experience for th is group of women through the qualitative study. Quantitative and qualitative studies though consist of similar elements, in that they have a purpose, pose a problem, define a research population, collect and analyze data, and present outcomes they are d ifferent individually and as research methods they have inherent value as well as deficiencies. Quantitative research is concerned with the measurement of outcomes using numerical data under controlled, organized, and standardized conditions using formal instruments (Portney & Watkins, 2000) However, certain things a re not particularly easy to measure. Hence, qualitative studies rel y on inductive reasoning, help interpret and structure the meanings derived from data, distinct from the quantitative deduc tive inquiry processes. Thorne (2000) summarized this distinction by stating that inductive reasoning uses the data to generate ideas (hypothesis generating), whereas deductive reasoning starts with an idea then uses the data to confirm or negate the idea (hypothesis testing). In addition, qualitative approaches are essential for pinpointing key s and actions (Skelly et al, 2000). Therefore qualitative data has value because of it s ability to reveal complexity not obtained from q uantitative surveys (Elliot et al., 2007). Mixed methods research involved the mixture of qualitative and quantitative approaches in collecting, analyzing, and mixing data in a single study or series of studies (Creswell, 2003) As a research methodology, mixed methods is relatively new,

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72 but has gained increasing popularity over the past 25 years. This momentum has occurred, in part, because of the weaknesses that limit each methodology. M ixed methodology addresse s but does not resol ve, some concerns specific to the two competing paradigms. Quantitative research falls short in understanding the context or setting in which people live, and the voices of participants are not directly heard. Qualitative research was thought to make up for this weakness. Qualitative research does not focus on things inherent to the quantitative research process such as charts, figures, tables, percentages, measures of association, or tests of statistical significance. Rather, the objectives of qualitati ve research are to discern themes, understand texture, provide context and allow for in depth attention to detail, context, and nuance (Patton, 2002) that may ultimately help inform quantitative analyses. An assumption of qualitative research was that rea lity is socially constructed, thus variables are complex interwoven, and difficult to measure. In a ddition, qualitative research i s more concerned with subjective, narrative information based on open ended questions in interviews in an effort to capture t he context of the data to better understand individual s experiences (Portney & Watkins, 2000). This method also facilitated looking at a broad range of experiences for a smaller number of people. Over the years this mixed methodology has gained increasin g recogn ition, especially because all the tools of data collection are used, rather than being restricted to the weaknesses of data collection typically associated with either the quantitative and qualitative methodology (Creswell, 2003). C ombining both ap proaches provides a better understanding of research problems than either approach can alone. Using mixed

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73 methodology was also practical for this study, because individuals tend to solve problems by combining inductive and deductive thinking and employing skills in observing people as well as recording behavior (Creswell & Clark, 2007) It was natural then to employ mixed methods research as the preferred way to address the research problem. The qua litative arm of the study prov ed invaluable in that the stu dy participants presented their experiences and perceptions living with diabetes and their views are legitimate representations of their own experiences. For this study, the qualitative data was embedded in the larger quantitative data set and collected c oncurrently. Though it can be a challenge to differentiate between a study using an embedded design and one using another mixed design, the embedded design is different in that it employs one data type in a supplemental role to another For this study the qualitative data played this role. This design can use either a one phase or two phase approach for the embedded data. A one phase approach was used for this study because it was the most feasible modality to recruit the required sample. Therefore, the qu alitative results had great value when considered within the quantitative study design (Creswell, 2003). Methods This section describes the instrumentation, the par ticipants, the strategies that were used to recruit participants for data collection and t he methods that were used for the analysis. This mixed methods study employed an embedded strategy, using a quantitative correlational design then a qualitative descriptive design. This design allowed the investigator to assess diabetes knowledge through t he quantitative study, then identified the self care practices and the diabetes illness experience for this group of women through a qualitative study.

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74 In the embedded correlational design, researchers collect qualitative data as part of their correlation al study to help explain how the mechanisms work in the correlational model (Creswell & Clark, 2007). For example, within the larger embedded correlational design, the qualitative interviews about perceptions, beliefs, and experiences of care practices were embedded within the diabetes knowledge level assessment for low literate African American women with diabetes. The embedded study helped explain possible associations or identified various moderating factors. Challenges existed using th e embedded design. To address these challenges, the study purposes were clearly outlined, each with its own goal to ensure that distinctions were made to avoid confusion. According to Creswell ( 2003 ) distinct from the triangulation design that seeks to merge two different data sets the quantitative and qualitative data sets, to answer the same question, so i t was possible to bring the data sets together in the concurrent approach and interpret them in the form of a discussion for the analysis (Cresw ell & Clark, 2007). Setting and P articipants The population of interest for this study w ere adult African American women with T2DM who lived in Alachua County and the surrounding area s, between the ages of 40 to 64 who had had less than four year s of colle ge Th e study protocol was submitted to the UFIRB for approval and approrval was obtained. Sample The goal for this study was to recruit a purposive sample, but due to difficulties with recruitment initiatives, a convenience sample was used. The inclu sion criteria for this study were participants who were (a) non pregnant African American women; (b) aged between 40 and 64 years; (c) self reported that they had had a clinical diagnosis

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75 of T2DM; (d) had had diabetes for at least 1 year prior to entering the study; (e) had no mental health co morbidities that incapacitated them from communicating logically with the interviewer; (f) were low income, on Medicaid, poor, uninsured, or underinsured; and (g) self reported as having less than four year s of college. Further, participants were excluded from the study if they had type 1diabetes, were pregnant, reported having as anything other than African American ancestry and were too disabled or mentally ill that they could not appropriately respond in an oral inter view Diabetics who had had diabetes for less than one year were also excluded from the study because th o se individuals had limited experience in taking care of their diabetes. T h e age range for this study focuse d on participant s eligible for Medicaid, bec ause older individuals would be put in another care catego ry and eligible for Medicare. Study participants who me t the inclusion criteria were recruited from various UFIRB approved sites, including the University of Florida and other clinics, churches, low income community residencies, hair dressing salons and service facilities in Alachua County and su rrounding areas and invited to participate in the study. For the quantitative arm of the study, a power analysis using G* Power was performed based on the effect size found from this study, statistical procedures used in the study, type I error, and number of the sample. The e ffect size is the strength of the rel ationship between variables in this study while the p ower of a statistical test depends on alph a level or t ype 1 error rate, effect, and sample size In addition, for the qualitative study, another goal of the research was to identify f rom the participants surveyed for the larger quantitative study a subset of individuals to p articipate in a face to face 35 to 60 minute oral in depth semi structured qualitative interview. In past

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76 adequate sample size was determined once saturation was achieved and for this stu dy participants were also recruited until saturation was achieved. Individuals for the qualitative interviews were also recruited based on convenience, since some individuals who met the initial goal of the study (to draw the higher and lower scoring indi viduals on the quantitative assessment knowledge for diabetes scale) did not want to participate, or did not provide follow up contact information. In sum, snowball sampling was used to obtain additional participants. Interviews took place at a location c onvenient to the participant. All participants in this sample signed an informed consent approved by the University of Florida Internal Revenue Board. The informed consent was done prior to using any of the instruments. Each par ticipant was given a copy of her signed informed consent for future reference. Instrumentation A variety of data collection method s were used for the mixed methods design, a quantitative survey as well as a semi structured interview guide, and the investigator developed these pr otocols using specific, detailed, and systematic methods. Four instruments were used in this study. The demographic information questionnaire was used to collect biographic information (Appendix A) ; the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literacy Diabetes Scale (SK ILLD) was used to measure diabetes knowledge (Appendix B) ; the Summary of Diabetes Self Care Activities (SDSCA) was used to determine current self care activities or behaviors (Appendix C) ; and the interview guide (Appendix D) was used to explore life expe riences, knowledge, and understanding of diabetes and how women with diabetes manage their chronic illness.

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77 Validity concerns pertain to the extent to which an instrument measures what it is suppose d to measure (Portney & Watki ns, 2000). This is done to en sure adequate inferences from scores on the instruments used in the study. The validity was addressed below in the section appropriate to each instrument specified. Demographic information Questionnaire Demographic information was obtained from the partic ipants using a questionnaire administered before the interview began, primarily to obtain sample characteristics and gain a broader picture of the participants This questionnaire consisted of 12 questions based on study purpose and literature review and included information about t he participants self reported diagnosis of diabetes, last blood sugar reading at home, length of time with T2DM, annual personal income, annual household income, residency status, race, age, and mental illness status. The quest ionnaire was administered orally by the interviewer because all the other instruments were given orally to accommodate those whose reading skills might have been minimal. Spoken knowledge in low li teracy diabetes scale (SKILLD) q uantitative study For the quantitative study, the SKILLD scale document (Rothman et al., 2005) was used to collect the data. This scale assessed knowledge about diabetes and self care activities and consisted of ten questions of diabetes was c orrelated with education level achieved both personal and household income s length of time with diabetes, glycemic control, and self care activities. When measuring diabetes knowledge in vulnerable patients with possible low literacy the SKILLD instrume nt i s brief, well validated, easy to use, and well accepted by patients (Rothman, et al., 2005). The reliability and internal consistency of the scale was examined using the Kuder Richardson coefficient of reliability, which is a variant of

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78 ficient for items that are dichotomous. The coefficient of internal reliability for all the items was 0 .72, which suggested adequate reliability. A principal factors analysis and principal components analysis to confirm scale validity and examine possible scale reduction analysis were done. The factors retained for the analysis were done using a scree test and Virimax and Promax rotatio n. Questions were kept if they had consistently high loadings with rotation (> 0 .3 or < 0 .3). Factor analysis was also forced on specified factors to examine question loading. In the factor analysis, a single factor dominated (eigenvalue 2.95) in principal components factor analysis, with question three and seven having high loadings to the factor (Rothman, et al., 2005) Scori ng SKILLD The SKILLD survey was scored by assigning 10 points to each of the 10 questions for a potential total of 100 according to the specifications in Rothman and colleagues 2005 study. The scores were summed and a variable created for total score. Th is total score was then used to do the appropriate analyses to answer the research questions. Summary of diabetes self care activities measure quantitative study The summary of diabetes self care activities measure (SDSCA) was used to measure diabetes se lf management in adult s The SDSCA measure ment is an eleven item questionnaire that include s sections pertaining to specific activities diet, exercise, blood sugar testing, foot care, and smoking. This questionnaire i s one of the most widely used self re port instrument s for measuring diabetes self management in adults and i s promoted in the literature to b e used with other samples and i s in the public domain. In addition, the strength of the scale was its brevity and ease of scoring (Toobert et al., 2000 ).The quantitative study also obtained the knowledge level about

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79 diabetes to make associations with the diabetes self care activities measure. The SDSCA has been administered as a self complet ed questionnaire in paper and pencil form, touch screen computer and over the internet (Toobert, et.al, 2000 ). F or this study, the SDSCA was given orally to compensate reported years of school which was usually low. It is also a brief yet reliable and valid self report measure ment of diabetes self management (Toobert et.al, 2000). Scoring SDSCA The SDSCA scale was scored by averaging the scores for the individual sections pertaining to general diet, specific diet, exercise, blood sugar testing, and foot care. The number of cigarett es smoked per day was summed to determine the smoking score The scores for each section were determined and associated with the total knowledge score obtained from the SKILLD score Only one question was reverse coded and that related to specific diet. Interview guide q ualitative study In the qualitative study, a semi structured interview guide that consisted of seven questions with various probes was used to collect data It was developed using past interview guides presented in the literature, speci fically, the Kleinman (1980) are very useful to obtain participants explanatory model s of their illness experience. However, in practice, laymen often either do not volunteer an explanator y model to health professionals or when they do it is a short, single phrase explanation This may be because individuals are embarrassed about revealing their beliefs in formal healthcare settings, and fear being ridiculed, criticized, or intimidated be cause their beliefs appear mistaken from a professional medical viewpoint. A ccordingly, Kleinman indicate d

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80 models are more easily elicited in homes by a researcher not involved in the delivery of medical care to the patient, and wh o expresses a genuine, non judgmental interest in Consequently, t his research was conducted in a convenient location for the participant for example comfortable place (Kleinman, 1980). In sum, th e study had various components that were given orally: 1) informed consent (then signed) ; 2) demographic information questionnaire ; 3) SKILL D and SDSCA ; and 4) face face semi structured individual interviews. Only the individuals asked to participate in th e individual semi structured interview also signed the audio portion of the consent form. Scientific Integrity The research was also meticulously documented so as to allow other researchers to replicate the process Qualitative assessment of validity wa s distinct from the determination of quantitative validity. For qualitative validity, the focus was on identifying a degree of congruence between explanations and the realities of the world, the consistency with using the interview guide, as well as the c ontent validity of the interview guide. Further, r eliability in qualitative studies meant the degree of consistency with which an instrument or rater measures a variable (Portney & Watkins, 2000). Consistency in the use of the interview guide was achieved by using the same interviewer for each interview Using other data from previous studies to confirm results were used to enhance the reliability of the research. Alt hough Patton (2002) indicates that no formula exists for transforming data obtained from qu alitative analysis (p. 432), the results were analyzed using thematic analysis. This study employed a number of techniques promoted by McMillan & Schumacher ( 2006) to ensure that the researcher

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81 captured the meanings of what was being said by using voice re corders to tape the interviews and transcribe them verbatim using an expert panel to guide the analysis process, ensuring consistency between interviews by using the same researcher, as well as looking for negative or discrepant data that will modify patt erns found in the data. Reliability in quantitative studies means the extent to which a measurement was consistent and free from error, and was conceptualized for reproducibility or dependability (Portney & Watkins, 2000). In the case of this correlationa l study, the reliability correlation was important because reliability reflects the degree of association between two sets of data, or the consistency of position within the two distributions. The statistic most often used for internal consistency is Chron (Portney & Watkins, 2000). Protection of Human Subjects Prior to undertaking this study, the study protocol was approved by the UFIRB Informed consent was obtained from each participant in the study. In a designated interview a rea, agreed upon by the participant, an informed consent was administered orally and signed before the various components of the study were conducted. A thorough explanation and description of the study purpose, method, potential risks and benefits for pa rticipation in the study, and the protection of confidentiality were told to eligible participants in this study as part of the informed consent process Those individuals who could read were also given the informed consent orally and were asked to review the form on their own to corroborate what the principal investigator explained. If the individual could not read, then they were asked to repeat the information that they

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82 underst ood back to the principal i nvestigator before they were allowed to sign the i nformed consent to ensure that they understood the study Additionally, approval from all other required parties was obtained. Women were given the opportunity to ask questions, and decline, or accept participation in the study. All data were made anony mous by assigning codes to the data. No identifying information was included in the data report and all recordings were stored in an encrypted file and will be destroyed according to the stipulations by the UFIRB. The phone number and address of the invest igator and the chair of the dissertation committee were given to participants so they could address questions or concerns related to the study. The phone number for the UFIRB was also included The participant s in this research did not suffer any health ri sk because of participation in this study. Informants were told of their freedom to answer or not answer questions, and that the interview c ould be stopped at any time without penalty. Since the study was focu sed on a vulnerable population with the chroni c illness of diabetes, every effort was made to keep these individuals anonymous. Hence measures were taken to exclude all names and locations from the data to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. There were no direct benefits for the participants; howev er, since they were being directly affected by diabetes they may have be en motivated to make their voice s heard regarding issues associated with their self care practices. Data Collection and Recruitment Data collection was quantitatively and qualitativel y driven and complemented with demographic data. The data was collected during 2009 and 2010 using a convenience sample The informed consent, quantitative surveys and qualitative interview were conducted or ally.

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83 Recruitment and Reimbursement The inve stigator met with the person in charge of the facility from which individuals were recruited and informed them about the study This individual, such as the head nurse or doctor of the clinic, the head of the church, the manager of the hair salon or the l ocal community liaison were briefed about the study and sample recruitment needs. Next the research investigator asked the appropriate individual in charge of the facility to give out flyers to make initial contact with women and introduce the study to in terested participants who me t the inclusion criteria In addition, the investigator put up flyers at UFIRB approved sites an d recruited interested parties from clinics, at churches, and in low income housing communities. To supplement the recruitment proc ess, snowball sampling was employed as needed, to obtain an appropriate sample for the study. The participants were not financially compensated for their time. A reminder phone call if possible was made before each interview. Data C ollection The data was c ollected during 2009 2010. All the instruments, including the informed consent were conducted orally. For the quantitative study, participants were asked to respond to the demographic information questionnaire and the SKILLD survey The SKILLD survey was particularly appropriate for use with the par ticipants because it was given orally in an effort to avoid problems with reading comprehension (Rothman et al 2005). The quantitative surveys lasted approx imately 20 minutes. The SDCSA was also administered orally For the qualitative study in dividual interviews lasted between 35 to 60 minutes. Open ended semi structured questions for the individual interviews were used in this study. Using open ended semi stru ctured individual interviews is a common method for

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84 data collection to gather data from various participants (Kvale, 1996). Understan ding constructed realities meant that the investigator interact ed and talk ed with participants about their views, perceptions, and experiences (Maxwell, 2005). Further, i nterviews allowed the researcher to go beneath the surface of the described experience, stop and nd use observational and social skills to enhance the discussion (Charmaz, 2006). In qualitative research the sample size is typically s mall (Crabteee & Miller, 1999) because as Patton (2002) indicated, though a small sample is used in qualitative inquiry high quality, detailed descriptions of each case (key for documenting uniqueness) and important shared patterns (emerging out of heterogeneity) are beneficial. Guest and collegues (2006) indicated that selecting sample size typically relies on the concep is observed in the data, since no published guidelines or test of adequacy for estimating the sample size exists. Patton (2002) indicated that sampling to the point of redundancy was an ideal that works bes t when choosing the participants. Therefore data collection continued until saturation was achieved, which was the point at which no new information emerge d Data Analysis Process Data collection was primarily quantitatively driven, with an embed ded qualitative design using concurrent data collection and analysis. The goal of the data analysis process was first to, analyze each of the quantitative and qualitative data sets and how how the experiences helped them manage their diabetes.

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85 Creswell and Clark (2007) proposed several guidelines for the concurrent embedded design analysis. This study first employed Stage 1 which involves conducting separate initial data analysis for the quantitative and qualitative data s ets. Unlike the triangulation design where both data sets are merged to present a complete picture developed from both data sets, for the embedded design the supportive d ata set (qualitative) reinforces or refutes th e results of the primary data set (quantitative). Hence the data analysis was guided by the question W hat additional information was obtained during the correlational study from the qualitative data? To answer this question Stage 2 of the concurrent em bedded design was implemented whereby the data was compared by a discussion using the (qualitative) data to reinforce or refute the results of the primary data set (quantitative) The results for both stages of this analysis process are presented in chapt er 4 A study that includes both quantitative and qualitative methods without explicitly integrating the data derived from each is simply a collection of multiple methods (Creswell & Clark, 2007), which is not the intention of this study. For this study, though both methodologies were used to answer different research questions, they had common goals: (1) to identify knowledge and behaviors regarding self care practices of African American women with T2DM and (2) to apply the model for understanding the c risis of physical illness through the different data collection strategies. Further, this study employed a rigorous and strong mixed method design that addressed key factors (such as timing and weighting of data explained previously) in integrating data a nalysis decisions.

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86 For the embedded design correlational model used in this study, the embedded data may be either one or two phased (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Conceptually, a one phased approach was used to embed data at the design level and connect dat a from data analysis to data collection. Decisions regarding timing, weighting, and mixing the data are also important in mixed methods data analysis. Timing refers to the time the data sets are collected and describes the order in which the researchers u se the data within a study, classified in one of two ways, concurrent or sequential (Creswell & Clark, 2007). This study used a concurrent data collection and analysis procedure. Concurrent timing occurs when the researcher implements both quantitative an d qualitative methods during a fixed time of the research study. This means that the data are collected, analyzed, and interpreted during the same time period (Creswell & Clark, 2007), even though they were collected at different times during this period. Weighting refers to the emphasis of the approaches in the study, that is the relative importance or priority of the quantitative and qualitative methods in answering the study quest ions (Creswell & Clark, 2007). There are two options, giving equal weigh t or unequal weight. Equal weighting suggests that the investigator assumed each method played an equally important role in addressing the research problem. Unequal weighting means one of the methods will have a greater emphasis within the study than the o ther method. The unequal weighting was more appropriate for this study for a number of reasons. First unequal weighting best addresse d the research questions and goals. Since limited work has been done to determine the state of diabetes knowledge among these specific adult women, it is important to identify th e knowledge level for these individuals. Historically more work has been done regarding identifying

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87 individual s experiences with diabetes self care. Hence it was more of a priority to give weight to assessing the knowledge level for these individuals. Further, practical considerations for using this method also made it more appropriate for this study. Since it takes more resources to implement a study that gives equal weight to the two methods, t his study prioritized the unequal method. Concurrent data analysis first involved procedures that involve d conducting a separate initial data analysis for each of the qualitative and the quantitative data sets (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Hence coding, theme development, and the interrelationship of themes were done. Next, the concurrent data analysis allowed the quantitative and qualitative data sets to be used, the supportive data set (qualitative) reinforcing and supplementing the results of the primary ( quantitative) data set T his allowed the researcher to answer the research questions for the quantitative and qualitative studies through a discussion (Creswell & Clark, 2 007). The qualitative study sought to provide contextual in formation to supplement t he quant itative study and allow for a more appropriate application of the theoretical guide for this study, the model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness. In addition, the investigator cons is t e ntly used the following key question proposed in Creswell and Clark, 2007, to guide the research analysis process: What additional information is obtained during the correlational quantitative study from the qualitative data? Quantitative study. The quantitative study used descriptive statistics, includ ing frequencies, percentages, sample mean, median, and standard deviation, to analyze the personal characteristics of the sample participants, the SKILLD scores of women with diabetes and the SCSCA scores. For this correlational study, explanatory and

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88 out come variables (Table 2 1 ) were level of income, level of education achieved length of time with diabetes and glycemic control. Knowledge about diabetes also served as both an explanatory variable and an outcome variable. For the associations between kn owledge level of diabetes and self care activities, knowledge about diabetes was the explanatory variable. However, knowledge about diabetes care was the outcome variable for associations made with income, education level attained, length of time with dia betes, and glycemic control. These variables were particularly important because they have each been correlated with knowledge about diabetes self care in previous empirical evidence (Rothman et al. 2005). In this study, socioeconomic status was broken do wn into level of personal and household income and level of education achieved both measured as a continuous variable. As the outcome variable the level of diabetes knowledge was measured by a composite score from the SKILLD. Knowledge was examined as a c ontinuous va riable (total SKILLD score of 0 100%) when regarded as the explanatory or outcome variable. Single item knowledge results were compared to SKILLD knowledge scores (range 0% 100%) and compared to income s education (continuous variable), length of time with diabetes (continuous variable), and glycemic control which was also a continuous and ordinal variable (greater than or less than 70 120 mg/dL [3.89 6.67] of their glucose level). Total SKILLD knowledge scores using P earson correlation coeffic ients and t tests. In addition, SKILLD knowledge scores (range 0% 100%) were compared to the scores from the SDSCA scores using Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients, and t tests.

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89 Qualitative study. The qualitative research used semi structured open ended interviews (Swandt, 1997 ). Open ended questions asked during these interviews allowed the participants to supply answers in their own words. For the qualitative data analysis, aggregating the words or images into categories of information and pr esenting the diversity of ideas gathered during data collection (Creswell & Clark, 2007 was the modus operandi). C omputer assisted software is particularly useful for organizing and storing large quantities of data (Hatch, 2002, p. 208), and in this study A tlas ti 5.2 was used. The qualitative interviews were transcribed verbatim, labeled with numbers for identification, converted to a rich text file and uploaded in Atlas ti 5.2. Thematic analysis refers to analyzing transcripts in an effort to reduce the ma ss of qualitative data to make sense of the material and identify core consistencies an d meanings (Patton, 2002). Here thematic analysis identified emergent themes. F ree line by line coding was done and c odes obtained were used to generate categories Th is helped develop themes, ultimately proposing plausible relationships among co ncepts and sets of concepts. Subsequently, the data was taken to an expert panel of qualitative researchers to further guide the data analysis process and to ensure that the the mes were plausible and the quotes matched the appropriate themes identified. This analysis was rigorous and allowed the data to be examined a number of times to derive the best way to present the mass of data obtained in the study, which foster ed a systema tic approach to analysis. Lastly, the report writing was done. This was not separated from the analytical process, since summarizing data and selecting descriptors that reflect the intricacy of the data was key in completing the analysis. The presentatio n of the results was

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90 prefaced with a section that illustrated who the participants were based on the suggestion of the expert panel. Summary This chapter described the methodology that was used to conduct this study. Data collection was primarily quantitat ively driven, with an embedded qualitative design using a one phased correlational concurrent embedded design for the data collection and analysis. This study used a mixed methodology to examine a modified model for understanding adaption to a physical il lness. This is the first study to have illustrated that African American women with T2DM adapt and improve self care practices by surmounting a series of crisis. Further, the present st udy not only applied the model to understand the crisis experienced aft er the onset of a physical illness, but it also measured knowledge for diabetes and self care activities and explored African also used methodologically different approaches to apply the various parts of a similar model (the model for explaining model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness) using a correlational embedded mixed methods design. The theoretical framework was the conceptual model for understanding th e crisis of physical illness (Moo s & Tsu, 1977) used to explain the correlations between the predictor and explanatory variables. The explanatory model was used to develop the interview guide (Kleinman, 1980) for the qualitative development of the intervi ew guide. Themati c analysis was done. All data were recorded and interviews transcribed verbatim. The quantiative and qualitative studies used a convenience sampl ing method Interviews were conducted in a specified location by the participant Validity and reliability were ensured in each aspect of the research process. This study was

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91 designed to explore some of this target population s experiences with their diabetes, assess their diabetes knowledge and self care practices and explore th eir experienc es and perceptions to identify ways that African American women translate the education obtained from the healthcare system into practical use in their home and lives Figure 3 1. Adaptation of a conceptual model for understanding the crisis of a phys ical illness In T. Milton, C. Green, and R. Meagher (Eds.), Handbook of Clinical Health Psychology (pp. 129 151).

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92 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS DISCUSSION RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction The purpose of th is study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self care activities and explore experiences of African American women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The specific aims of this study were to (1) assess knowledge about diabetes in African American wome n; (2) explore the associations between African of diabetes and (a) income level, (b) year s of education, ( c ) length of time with diabetes, ( d ) glycemic control, and ( e ) self care activities; (3) explore experiences of African Am erican women with managing their diabetes as well as their understanding of diabetes. This chapter is organized first with the quantitative then the qualitative study results followed by a discussion of the results. Findings presented in this chapter foll ow the research question it answers. The discussion section includes not only a discussion of the study findings, but also the study limitations, implications and suggestions for future research. Participant Characteristics/Demographics The sample consiste d of 52 participants who met the study criteria. Study participants were recruited from UF IRB approved sites, including clinics, churches, low income community residenti al facilities and healthcare service facilities in Alachua County and the surrounding a reas. Flyers were used to invite women who met the criteria to participate in the study. The f lyers and snowball sampling of respondents were the primary method s used to select participants. Interviews took place in a private location convenient for the pa rticipant. Informed consent was explained and each

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93 participant signed hers. All instruments : the informed consent form, the demographic information questionnaire the SKILLD and SDSCA were or ally administered to each participant and her responses written down The mean age of the sample was 55 years ranging from 40 to 64 Participants had known they had had diabetes for an average of approximately 9 years ranging from 1 to 32 years ; t he mean blood sugar reading was 136 with a minimum reading of 70 and a maximum of 263 B e ight participants did not disclose this reading due to inability to remember their last reading (Table 4 1). Participants reported their education as high as 15 years a nd as low as 7 years with a mean of 11.97. Approximately 42.3 percent of the participants had personal income s of $10,000 or less and 25 percent reported personal income between $10,000 and $20,000 When asked about the total household income, 32.7 percen t of the participants reported $10,000 or less 25 percent reported household income between $10,000 and $20,000 (Table 4 2 and 4 3). The majority of the participants were from Alachua County (86.5%), while 11.5% and 1.9% were from Levy and Putnam counti es respectively (Table 4 4). Over half the sample (61.5%) participated in some form of diabetes education classes (53.8%) or got information from doctors (7.7%), while 38.5% of the participants had no formal diabetes classes or education (Table 4 5). A p ower analysis was performed based on the effect size found from this study, statistical procedures used in the study, type I error, and sample number. By securing 52 participants along with the highest strength of association found in this study ( 0 .40), th e actual statistical power is estimated favorable ( 0 .92) based on two tailed hypothesis

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94 and type I error at 0. 05. In a more conservative estimate when 0. 3 is used as an average medium correlation coefficient, the power is also acceptable ( 0 .82). From the 5 2 participants surveyed, 14 individuals participated in a face to face 35 60 minute or al in depth semi structured qualitative interview s The following results are presented based on the research questions and hypotheses set forth in the study. Results of Individual Research Questions Research Question #1 What knowledge level did African American women with T2DM have about their disease ? The total SKILLD score was determined by computing the participant responses on each individual item of the survey, with each question having a point value of ten. Descriptive statistics indicated that the mean SKILLD score of the participants was 57.31 and the Standard Deviation (SD) was 17.50. Overall, the respondents answered more than half the questions correctly, some scoring as little as 20 and others as high as 100 out of a possible 100 points with a range of 80, and the most commonly occurring score (the mode) was 70 (Table 4 6). Forty four percent of the participants scored 50 or less on the SKILLD score (Table 4 7). Research Question #2 W ere African s about their T2DM self care associated with income, year s of education, length of time with T2DM or glycemic control? Null Hypotheses H01. were not asso ciat ed with (a) income, (b) years of education, (c) length of time with T2DM or (d) glycemic control.

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95 Results. To ascertain that the normality assumption is met before conducting a Pearson Correlation, the Kolmogorov Smirnov Z score (K S Z) was calculate d over the continuous variables. A p value equal or higher than 0. 05 indicates the normal distribution assumption is met for the tested variable (Corder & Foreman 2009). Also, if some variables were not continuous then a Spearman rank correlation test wa s deemed more appropriate. Before testing the association between SKILLD scores and income, normality assumptions were examined for the following variables: (1) SKILLD, (2) income (personal and total), (3) years of education, (4) length of time with T2DM, and (5) glycemic control. The K S Z scores were the following: (1) SKILLD score = 1.09 with p = 0. 19; (2) income: personal income = 1.87 with p = 0. 00 and total income = 1.4 with p = 0. 04; (3) years of education = 2.13 with p = 0. 00; (4) length of time wit h T2DM = 1.60 with p = 0. 01; and (5) glycemic control = 1.22 with p = 0. 10. SKILLD score and glycemic control were considered normally distributed. However, total and personal incomes years of education, and length of time with diabetes had a p value less than 0 .05 and cannot be treated as normal distributions (Table 4 8). SKILLD scores and income. Normality assumptions were examined prior to testing the association between SKILLD scores and incomes. SKILLD scores can be treated as a normal distribution but total and personal incomes cannot be treated as rank order correlation was used to examine their association. Positive non significant correlations were found between SKILLD scores and both income variables: personal income (rho = 0. 24) and total household income (rho = 0. 21). The findings confirm the

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96 null hypothesis that there were no associations between SKILLD scores and personal and household incomes (Table 4 9). S KILLD scores and e ducation. Normality assumptions were examined before testing the association between SKILLD scores and e ducation. To identify the association between two continuous variables, where SKILLD scores w ere normally distributed but years of ed ucation w ere not a calculated. There was a positive significant correlation (rho = 0. 24) between SKILLD scores and the years of education. Results showed participants with more years of education we re more likely to have bet ter knowledge about T2DM (Table 4 10). The findings refute the null hypothesis. SKILLD scores and length of time with diabetes. Normality assumptions were examined before testing the association between SKILLD score and e ducation. The SKILLD score was nor mally distributed but the length of time with T2DM was not. A continuous variables, SKILLD score and the length of time with T2DM There was a negative non significant correlatio n (rho = 0 .11) between SKILLD score and length of time with T2DM (Table 4 11). SKILLD scores and glycemic control. Only 44 participants of the 52 were able to recall their last blood sugar reading. Prior to examining the association between SKILLD scores and glycemic control, the normality assumption was tested on the variable of blood sugar reading. The SKILLD scores and latest blood sugar reading were treated as normal distributions. Hence, the association between two continuous variables, SKILLD scores and blood sugar reading, was identified using a Pearson

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97 correlation, where both variables were normally distributed (Table 4 12). There was a positive non significant correlation between SKILLD scores and glycemic control with diabetes (r = 0. 17). An ind ependent sample t test was also done to examine the SKILLD scores between the participants who controlled their glycemic level well and those who did not. Since the SKILLD score was normally distributed, inferences were done to compare the SKILLD mean scor es. Sixteen of the 44 participants (36.4%) who reported their blood sugar levels were well controlled while 28 (63.6%) did not control well. Those who controlled well had a mean SKILLD score of 55 and a SD of 18.97 while those who did not control well had a mean of 60 and a SD of 17.43 (Table 4 13). The independent t test indicated no statistically significant difference in SKILLD score between the two groups in glycemic control ( t = 0 .89, df = 42, p = 0 .38) (Table 4 14). Research Question #3 What were th e associations between the African knowledge of T2DM and their self care activities? Null Hypothesis H02. knowledge of T2DM self care and their self care activities. Re sults. The association between SKILLD scores and self care activities were done after normality assumptions were examined for the following variables: (1) SDSCA general diet, (2) SDSCA specific diet, (3) SDSCA exercise, (4) SDSCA blood sugar testing, and ( 5) SDSCA foot care. A one sample K S Z test was performed for each of the variables. The K S Z scores we re as follows: (1) SDSCA general diet = 0. 83 with p = .49; (2) SDSCA specific diet = 1.25 with p = 0 09; (3) SDSCA exercise = 1.09 with p = 0 19; (4) SDS CA blood sugar testing = 1.70 with p = 0 01; and (5) SDSCA foot

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98 care = 1.41 with p = 0 04. SKILLD as well as SDSCA general and specific diet and SDSCA exercise were normally distributed. However, SDSCA blood sugar testing and foot care had p values less th an 0. 05 and cannot be treated as normal distributions (Tables 4 15). SKILLD scores and SDSCA general diet. Before testing the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA general diet, normality assumptions were examined. A one sample K S Z test was perfor med. The variables of interest SKILLD scores and SDSCA general diet were both continuous b oth SKILLD scores and SDSCA g eneral d iet were normally distributed. General diet was considered as following a healthful eating plan within the last seven days and t he month. The association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA general diet was identified using a Pearson correlation. Knowledge for SKILLD scores and SDSCA general diet were positively correlated (r = 0. 003) b u t it was not significant statistically (Table 4 1 6). This supported the null hypothesis that there was no association between the SKILLD scores and SDSCA general diet. SKILLD scores and SDSCA specific diet. Before testing the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA specific diet, normality assumpti ons were examined. A n SDSCA specific diet was considered as having within the last seven days greater than or equal to five servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods such as red meat or full fat diary products Both SKILLD scores and SDSCA spec ific diet were normally distributed. Hence, the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA specific diet was identified using a Pearson correlation. SKILLD scores and SDSCA specific diet were positively correlated (r = 0. 28) with statistical significance. The results

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99 showed participants who tend to engage in eating more fruits and vegetables and less high fat foods such as red meat or full fat dairy products within the week prior to questioning had more knowledge about T2DM than their counterparts (Table 4 17). This association refuted the null hypothesis. S KILLD scores and SDSCA exercise. Before testing the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA exercise, normality assumptions were examined. Both SKILLD scores and SDSCA exercise were normally distr ibuted. Hence, the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA exercise w ere identified using a Pearson correlation. Knowledge for SKILLD scores and SDSCA exercise were negatively correlated (r = 0. 07), and it was not significant (Table 4 18). SKILLD scor es and SDSCA blood sugar testing. Before testing the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA blood sugar testing, normality assumptions were examined. The SKILLD scores variable was normally distributed but SDSCA blood sugar testing was not. A Spearma n correlation was used to identify this relationship. SKILLD scores and SDSCA blood sugar testing were positively correlated (rho = 0. 09) and the results were not significant. The results showed, with no statistical significance, participants who tend to e ngage more in self care activities by blood sugar testing had more knowledge about T2DM than their counterparts (Table 4 19). SKILLD scores and SDSCA foot care. Before testing for the association between SKILLD scores and SDSCA foot care, normality assump tions were examined. The SKILLD scores variable was normally distributed but SDSCA foot care was not. Hence, a Spearman correlation was used to identify this relationship. SKILLD scores and SDSCA foot care were positively correlated (rho = 0. 40) and w ere statistically

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100 significant. The results showed that participants who tend to engage in foot care self care activities during the last seven days by checking their feet and inspecting the inside of their shoes had more knowledge about T2DM than their counte rparts (Table 4 20). SKILLD scores and SDSCA s moking. Since the SKILLD scores w ere normally distributed, inferences concerning means were done to compare the SKILLD scores mean score s between those who did or did not smoke. All participants in the study re ported their smoking status. Seven were smokers and 45 were non smokers. Those who smoked had a mean score of 55.71 and a SD of 16.18 while those who did not smoke had a mean score of 57.56 and a SD of 17.86 (Table 4 21). The independent t test indicated no significant difference in SKILLD scores between the two groups smoking status ( t = 0. 89, df = 42, p = .38) (Table 4 22). Research Question #4. What are African T2DM ? What adaptive tasks and coping skil ls did they use? Research Question #5 How do African American women perceive their T2DM ? What is their perceived meaning of T2DM ? There were many experiences expressed by the African American women in this study. The qualitative research questions four an d five were answered together T2DM seemed similar to their description of their experience with T2DM and it was difficult to distinguish the two based on their responses To better understand who these women were, a ma gnified illustration of the different types of experiences that these women had during their life with T2DM was presented in the section titled Portrait of the African American Woman with Diabetes in

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101 This Study below Their experience s and perceptions seem ed to fall into two distinct thematic categories, namely (1) dealing with the diagnosis of T2DM and (2) management of T2DM, with a number of consistent and unique factors influencing both categories Portrait of the African American Woman with Diabetes in This Study belief s about the cause s and meaning of T2DM as well the role their past experiences played provide insight into how the women eventually dealt with their own diagnosi s of T2DM and ultimately their self care beliefs and reactions from their current attitudes and beliefs about T2DM because their initial beliefs and reactions were altered by various influences and subs equent experiences. Their p erceived meaning and cause of diabetes. For the most part, the women were aware of factors that contribute d to their T2DM These factors included having a genetic predisposition, being physically at risk (obese), having physical co morbidities (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stress), and having bad habits relating to eating and exercising. Not engaging in preventative health measures, inadequate health care practices, and poverty were also indicated as possible contributin g factors to T2DM These beliefs were illustrated best in the following quote: that you will get it if i t runs in your family. (P7). To a lesser extent, T2DM was also believed to be linked to a particular culture, as was expressed most succi run strongly in African American women, and [ diabetes] done been through the whole

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102 researcher understand just how they perceived their condition. Most participants knew the causes of T2DM or had the ir own perception of the di sease, w hile other participants were unaware or unsure of what caused their T2DM as their doctors and felt that they were misdiagnosed and had received incorrect treatm ent by their doctor that led them to have T2DM These bad experiences with doctors impacted their self management: I have had experience with bad doctors, who just told me what was normal, what was in the book but they never evaluated me . T he lack of perfect medications and of easily prepared foods also made it difficult. (P1) Obtaining good medical care could be a problem for these disadvantaged women. I t was heart rending when one woman, crying, expressed her gratitude to me in just allowing her t o talk about her experience with T2DM because she felt that she had no support and no one who took the time to listen, including her doctor. Misconceptions about treatment were evident. For example, one individual expressed that only taking the gel from t he aloe vera plant would help treat her T2DM by which they meant that God would one day cure them if they had enough faith. Only a few of them were aware that T2DM had no cure but if it was mana ged well, they could live a healthy life. M any women, were unaware of the power of self care and its role in helping them live a long and healthy life. Another experience of the women was that many of the m were in constant pain and some had physical condit ions that had never been diagnosed. R eflected in their past reactions to their diabetes was the inherent sorrow that many women experienced when they were first diagnosed. They were frustrated that

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103 they had become diabet ic resentful that despite all the y did to help their family members who had T2DM they still got the disease themselves and fearful of what could happen to them. These reactions could manifest themselves in denial or avoidance of diabet ic self care activities. P articularly notable when t hey were first diagnosed with T2DM was that many of the women perceived this to mean a type of was illustrated below: ng time to get into it, but it takes you a longer time to get out of because of the things that go on with your body. And I know it take a lot longer, you have to control your eating habits, your exercising. . So when you say diabetes I know pe ople that have had diabetes and have died (P1) Past experiences. The women made references in large part to childhood experiences that impacted their self care behaviors. Childhood reflections impacted their view of what having T2DM meant. So their childh ood experiences with people with T2DM tainted their view of someone with the disease Not only was diabetes something that caused death, but it was suppose to be a disease that affected older people. One woman expressed this best because when she found out she had T2DM an image was brought to her mind: [D wheelchair U sually they were very large T hey always had something swollen, especially their feet T heir feet was always swollen . T hey was always coughing so as a child I remember diabetes was one step from death so you treat people like that because they may die any minute (P1). Lack of financial resources was another challenge for these women. Though some women ac cepted their condition, not having the money to care for T2DM affected their self management Many of the participants stated that they grew up in a situation where

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104 going to the doctor for preventative care was not typical. Most women who reflected on thei r childhood experiences indicated that they were not given foods that were healthy for them; and their meals were not planned growing up A s a result childhood experiences with diet also impacted their self care practices as adults. Present diets were in dicated by a few of the women to be a reflection of their upbringing and how they This is illustrated best in the following quote: A s a child I was never taught proper eating skills W e did not concentrate on what was good to eat, we ate what was available, whatever was given to us, and that practice continued until adulthood (P1) Despite such physical ailments as poor circulation, fatigue, and an inability to do activities they were used to doing, many ignored their T2DM and did not go to the doctor for months or even years because they did not want to hear anything the doctor had to say about their diagnosis. This helps explain why the women who did not accept their diagnosis when they fi rst heard it had serious problems due to noncompliance Attempts to acknowledge and do something about their condition eventually occurred, as can been seen from their current experiences. For those who could not accept their condition, their T2DM was not monitored until a seminal event happened and real change occur red in their lives. These events included physical deterioration that caused them to suffer great pain lo s s of a foot or leg, go blind, or suffer kidney failure. The wom e s are ex treme examples of an array of events, their common denominator being their eventual journey back to acceptance and the highs and lows associated with trying to walk the intricate path of diabet ic self care R egarding dealing with T2DM d espite where they s tarted most of the women had a hope of living, not only for themselves, but for their loved ones:

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105 Well, now, what helps me to really try and encourage me to try and do better is, I have three kids that need me, I need to be healthier for myself, and then I have 3 kids that I adopted and um that need me to be there for a sick husband that also depends on me so I got to take care of me in order to take care of any of them. (P 11) M ost of the women had been intimately acquainted with the loss of loved ones due to diabetes or had had someone in their family who suffered with diabetes, which led to the strong culture of caring for others for these diabetic women her granddaughter was to lose some weight so that she would not have to endure the negative aspects of diabetes. Despite the fact that she was obese and in constant pain, her first thoughts were for her granddaughter before herself. Because thinking of oth ers was such a large part of who these women were, reflecting on their experiences to make recommendations to others was a joy for them. The irony for many of the women was they gave the best advice, but they had not followed this advice themselves from th e very beginning when they were initially diagnosed with diabetes. Many felt it important to tell others to face reality because they felt it an imperative stance if they wanted to live. Many admitted that, had they followed their advice, today they would be in much better physical condition and living a more pain and stress free life. These recommendations included managing diabetes well, which meant learning everything they could about diabetes, not to ignore the diagnosis, do all they could to live with it, recommendations are best indicated in the following quote: manages you. [Diabetes] will meet you if myself into submission, (P2)

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106 Some women were very resilien t For example, I had the most difficulty scheduling an interview with one woman who had bilateral above the knee amputations because she was always on the move and did not allow her condition to stop her from doing the things she wanted to do. Past experiences also intimately acquainted them with the loss of loved ones due to diabetes. The ways in which they talked about family or friends whom they had lost due to diabetes showed wisdom gained from experience, and they were eventually better for the experience though many had long periods of denying their condition or distancing themselves from self care A s time passed and they had had diabetes longer, they beca me more hopeful and rallied their belief in God and their vitality to live for their grandchildren and began to perceive diabetes as something they could overcome. In addition, the women who initially accepted their condition seemed to embrace this hope fo r their diabetes from the very beginning. The few that accept ed their condition when initially diagnosed had overcome other serious illnesses such as cancer or seemed to have more support when they were first diagnosed that help them tackle diabetes from the very beginning. The women living with diabetes in general tried to have positive attitudes about having diabetes, but this did not stop some women from being particularly candid about how they felt. Some expressed having real fears about diabetes bec ause of how it had affected others they knew or because they just did not have enough information to know better or they resented diabetes for happening to them despite all they did to help others who had diabetes in their past. Some women felt that they w ere the support systems for their family but it was not reciprocated. They feared going on dialysis or

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107 getting their limbs amputated. Feeling stigmatized specifically indicating feeling judged by family, their bosses, and doctors, because of their diabete s was also noted by a few women. Taking care of their diabetes was challenging because it meant being constantly vigilant about their self care Hence, the women struggled with the process of self care ad a struggle trying to find the right medication, trying to find the right exercise program, trying to even find the right Ultimately, they believed that because diabetes affects various parts of the body, it was di fficult to manage the intricate nature of taking care of their diabetes: diabetes affects everything, and so you got to watch out for everything, your thing to do, because you conce ntrate on your eyes, then your feet go, if you concentrate on your feet then your circulation goes it s just hard to do unless you are at the top of your game you know anyone can do that but we j ust have to do the best we ca n. (P1) Currently, the women were, for the most part, hopeful. Some had trouble finding a physician who would listen to their concerns Physicians the patients felt comfortable with who recommend ed different things for care and most importantly did not st ereotype or talk down to them, but recognize d them as a person who just wanted to be heard. In addition family support caregiver s especially husband s, sisters, and nieces were invaluable and helped them manage their diabetes. Establishing routine, planni ng meals reading relevant literature and gaining knowledge was also important in helping the women a dapt to diabetes.

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108 Although each participant had a unique story, the African experience s with diabetes are summarized in the follow ing se ctions titled Dealing with a D iagnosis of T2DM and Management of T2DM. Dealing with a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Each African American wom a n in this study described her life with diabetes. Dealing with the diagnosis was divided into two parts : (1) reaction to a diagnosis of diabetes and (2) influential factors that impacted how she dealt with her diagnosis. There were three general reactions to being told had diabetes : deni al avoid ance or recognition and accept ance The influential facto rs clustered around (1 ) past experiences, (2 ) seminal events, ( 3 ) perceived long term consequences, (4) level of awareness or understanding or misunderstanding, and (5) support. Reactions. i nitial responses to their diagnosis of diabetes fell into one of three reactions: they denied, avoided and ignored it or accepted it Six participants accepted their diabetes diagnosis when they were first diagnosed. Of the six, o ne participant accepted he r diagnosis but a tragedy occurred in her life that led her to ignore or avoid doing the necessary self management practices required. S even participants all ignored, avoided, or denied that they had diabetes, which led to various form s of lack of self ma nagement until some significant life event crisis, or realization occurred that impelled them toward a better diabetes self management lifestyle. Of the seven participants who did not accept their condition when diagnosed, four to describe how they initially dealt with their diabetes. For these period of time as is illustrated from the following quotes:

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109 the diagnosis. I was in denial. refused to do the treatment [for] about 6 months. (P1) I was in denial I t he doctor says. (P11) Of those participants who chose to ignore or avoid their diabetes one ignored or Another believed the I did [believe the doctor about having diabetes] . Y ou know, I just, really just igno red [the Still another condition, choosing instead a folk medicine alternative: A d go away b ecause aloe is very good for diabetes. (P4) Initially a few women accepted their diagnoses and were managing their diabetes well but a turn of events caused them to revert to neglecting self care It was also found that participants diagnosed with the disease later in life seemed to move to acceptance far quicker than those who were diagnosed early in life. In addition particular beliefs resulted in inadequate self c are where one woman ignored her diabetes for a while. However like all the women she eventually accepted her condition again: When I was diagnosed around thirty years ago, I was on pills and I took the pills and stuff and the doctor told me if I eat righ t and do right and stuff and follow the restrictions that I would be you know borderline, and just come off of it, so you know for about three or four years, I did what the doctor said, I . I went to contr olling it very well, I went to exercising . I said I was going beat this then I had a tragedy in my life, I lost a seventeen year old son, you know I eat and just

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110 . su pposed to with my blood sugar (P5) Some of the participants accepted their condition from the very beginning as diagnosed [t he doctor] had written a prescription fo r my meter and my strips and all S ome participants accepted their diagnos e s but did not always adhere to the path of good self care : R ight after I was diagnosed and I was checking everything and watching what I eat and keeping my weight at a normal level and then somehow I slipped and started doing what I really want to do. (P11) In sum, less than half the participants initially accepted their diagnos e s or were proactive in their self care The one partici pant who had initially accepted her diagnosis and was proactive in self care activities, but had suffered the death of her son and had avoid ed and ignor ed her diabetes, was also currently caring for her diabetes. a common denominator despite their initial reaction of avoid ance or deni al, their eventual journey back to acceptance of their diabetes particularly because the debilitating nature of their condition made them more concerned Hence, at the date of the inte rviews, all participants accepted their condition and were in the process of caring for their diabetes. The above three reactions were clearly identified from the data and seemed to be processes that each woman went through in dealing with the diagnosis. Influential factors. The participant s journey to self care were impacted by various influential factors when they were first diagnosed with diabetes These included five major themes that reflected what influenced how the women dealt with their diagnosi s: (1) past experiences, (2) seminal events, (3) perceived long term

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111 consequences, (4) level of awareness and understanding or misunderstanding, and (5) support. Past experiences ailments, and loss of family or friends were also important influential factors in how the women dealt with their diabetes. Their perception of how diabetes impacted the lives of family and friends was noteworthy: sis ] machine four hours of your day and then you free for a day and then you got to go back I . if you happen not to be as blessed as my mom was to have kids to take you to dialysis, then you got to ride the bus to dialysis . I sat th ere and I watched these people come off dialysis and they had to wait at least two hours before they could get a ride home . up having to go up through all that. (P11) Many women recognized and acknowledged the folly of their past actions. Hence, experiences with physical ailments helped the majority of women concede that they were not taking care of their diabetes. This process was illustrated best in the follow ing quote: I have retina disease in my eyes, that is a downfall of the diabetes because little mild stro ke [Before] now I never had high blood pressure, but now I have high blood pressure . me with the diabetes, of taking the pills, exercising, eating right, not doing what I want, doing what I suppose to do (P4) Past loss was another influential factor regarding how some dealt with their diabetes. For example, losing a family member or friend who suffered prolonged problems due to diabetes reminded the m to, at all costs, avoid the suffering they saw their loved ones endure, as was expressed below:

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112 I see all that M omma went through sometimes her sugar use to be so low she would go in a coma and when she went in a coma it seems like she blew up three times bigger than she was, cause my M omma was a heavy set woman, and when she went in a coma they had to break the wall down through the room door, because she so heavy, and then she had to blow up bi gger and see all that she went through, you know suffer through all of that. (P8) Past experiences were potent reminders of what participants did not want for their own lives and so acted as motivators for self care Seminal events The lives which significantly impacted how they dealt with their diabetes. These occurred because of altered beliefs or the role family members in their lives or physical ailments that impelled them to dea l with their diabetes. Altered belief s occurred for many women who simply had erroneous information about diabet ic self care, so once they got the information they were able to change a fundamental error in their belief system s that led them to better sel f care practices. Many of the women also had family members who were diabetics or who were very supportive to them or both, and they did not have time to neglect their condition T heir family might call them daily help them plan meals, or t each them how to test their glucose level and these events significantly altered their subsequent behaviors. I n dealing with their diabetes altered when their family, friends, or others enlightened them as soon as they were diagnosed with diab etes and o ne participant illustrated this best: Fearful because I like to eat the wrong things, because I used to eat what I wanted but knowing at the same time that it can cause kidney failure something like that and I be fearful for my sister alwa ys say . W ell fearful (P7)

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113 The role of family in their lives therefore impacted how they dealt with diabetes from the very beginning. For participant 7 s that really affected how she dealt with diabetes and promoted her self care behavior s Ha ving a diabetic family member in their lives when they were initially diagnosed with diabetes proved instrumental in helping them deal with their diabetes and was later invaluable to helping the m My niece] the one g ot me started, she would come down and she wrote me a little menu to go by before . there (P14). Participant 5 on the other hand, lost a family member and this was another example of a seminal event that hindered her in particular fro m staying on a positive track for dealing with their diabetes. Unlike other women who experienced loss earlier in their lives, the loss was of older individuals who had diabetes. This participant however, the loss was of her son who did not have diabetes. Initially she accepted her diagnosis and according to her view, dealt with it well T he death of her son however resulted in her feeling depressed and not wanting to have to deal with the fact that she had diabetes as she related: [my diabet es] good, and like I said, I handled it good [but] 10 years later, you know, when my son died it took a hold, it took a toll on me (P5). drastically, impact ing how they initial ly dealt with their diabetes. Perceived long term consequences. These consequences of having diabetes impacted how the women dealt with their diagnos e s. Long term consequences expressed by a majority of the women when they were initially diagnosed with dia betes

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114 related to concerns about lack of treatment, loss pertaining to kidney function and not wanting to go on dialysis, and loss of limbs sight, and family members The paradox of their experiences is that some women, despite their diminish ed health, re fused medication or ignored self care activities. However, increasingly unbearable physical pain that they experienced impacted their decision to deal with diabetes because this pain forced them to go and get treatment since it either became too unbearable or they were fearful of increasingly negative outcome s Losing kidney function, for example was perceived as a severe consequence for the majority of the women in this study. This was especially true because they had seen others affected in this way. The ir actions regarding how they dealt with their diagnos e s were therefore influenced and the majority of the women use d their knowledge about the consequence s to motivate themselves. One wom a n encouraged to take her medication, said dialysis, so I just take my medication and keep my glucose checked, you know Experiencing the loss of a family member or friend from the consequences of diabetes helped them think about how they had to deal with diabetes. Despite thei r reali zation that diabetes resulted in death for many they knew, the women expressed hope regarding their condition as seen in the following representative quote: what it can cause in the body. And hopefully . the rest of my life . Level of awareness and beliefs or misunderstanding s Though conceptually different these three factors were put together because they relate to information They were considered to be influential factors in how the women dealt with their diabetes. One participant reflected how her belief in God helped her deal with her diabetes since

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115 she feels closer to God. . the (P3) For some women, v arious beliefs held by the m indicated that they did not have a true understanding of their condition. The quote from participant 5 expressed this lack of S This quote indi cates that she did not understand that to avoid taking the pill would contribute to exacerbating her diabetes not mak e it better. Some women were not aware of their lack of understanding, while others were not only aware of what they did not know, but ex pressed specific hopes based their belief in God or information they learned in the past about diabetes. Support This came Diabetes education classes helped improve awareness; family members who were diabetic and caregivers especially close relatives, also provided help in dealing with diagnosis. There were other factors that played key role s in how some women dealt with their diabetes. Those who were best informed and aware had the best outcomes. It is also notable that a few women mentioned that knowing they were helping others provided strength for them to deal with their diabetes. The example below illustrates the role of the diabetes education class which not only increased their awareness, but also supported their efforts to live with diabetes. The classes also helped them overcome some of the fears that they initially had about

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116 the disease so they were able to better deal with their diagnosis of diabetes. The following quotes help illustrat e: W hen I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I took a class on nutrition, and they teach you all the things you need to know about how to eat, how much to eat, to read the food labels, how much salt you should have and all, all the things that what to do w hen your diabetes is low when it is too high, what to do when you have a sick day and they taught us all that in the class and it was really encouraging. (P11) O h no, not a needle. But I wen First couple of weeks, I was like, O h my God, that was one of the dreaded things. But then I got use to it. She taught me how to do it and told me how to take it in my stomach area, told me how to d o it and everything, and I started doing it N These quotes captured how their initial exposure to classes really help ed to relieve some of their fears and insecurities about taking the medicine using a syringe and encouraged them to deal with their condition. Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Influential Factors Proactive and inactive represent the highs and lows of diabetes self management for these women. Participants were regarded as proactive if they were currently caring fo r their diabetes and inactive if they ceased to care for their diabetes. Typically, o nce a participant acknowledged the importance of self care she became proactive in the management of her care. There were, however, times when some women chose not to man age becoming inactive regarding their care. The themes for the management of T2DM in volved various factors which either impeded or facilitated the management of T2DM.

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117 Impediments These included treatment concerns such as medication issues and co ncerns about their providers, and lifestyle changes includ ing implementing self management personal barriers and inadequate resources. Treatment concerns For some, t hese included overcoming the difficulty of taking their first insulin by syringe (need le) finding the right medications, or finding the right doctor as is illustrated in the quotes below: T he first shot I gave myself . myself. (P4) I hings that you desire to do that you cannot do T here is always the ah ball and chain of your medicine and I am on the insulin and your insulin pretty much controls your life . M y biggest struggle was not just with my diet but also getting the medical help that I thought I needed and I do believe that a lot got to do with [that] because I am sure that a lot of the patients was black overweight women, and they judge us all on the same scale and . I ts been a struggle just finding someone that would finally listen to me (P1) The struggle to care for their diabetes was evident. However to a great extent, the women seemed to feel that treatment concerns added additional concerns for them regarding t heir self care practices. This is important to mention because for many of the women, they had better treatment experiences the longer they had had diabetes. Lifestyle changes. For many women ha ving to incorporate lifestyle changes to ensure that they m anaged their diabetes well proved difficult at times. These difficulties included overcoming certain habits, personal barriers, and inadequate resources. Habituations, including culinary and food preferences, overcoming a lack of discipline, temptations distractions and attitudes that g o t in the ir way, as well as their inadequate

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118 resources, were cited as thing s they had difficult ies with, illustrated by the following quotes: I was not and still am not as disciplined as I should be. I contributed. I my own worse enemy. Oh yes. Headstrong. Yes, very headstrong. I S ometimes I se e those commercials of Pepsi or something on TV and I say, m I wish I had me a soda. (P6) better W hen I feel that hey you know, I got to do this, so I do it, sometimes I go and forget to take my shot cause I be running out in the my shot at night, so I take it in the evening, so I take it before my last meal in the evening which is before 7 so I take my shot then (P5) D epending on you know In addition to lack of discipline, to a certain extent, a few women indicated that they prior itized their co morbidities because they were first diagnosed with a condition such as high blood pressure or they knew more about the other condition, so focusing on the first condition almost became a habit. Trying to add caring for diabetes as part of a health routine and making it a habit proved difficult at times: T he most important thing that I worried about back then was my blood pressure, and the doctor used to tell me, if you take care of your diabetes the way you take care of your blood pressure, l right, but I was These findings illustrate the need to focus on overcoming the difficulties that were imperative for the majority of women to address in order to better care for their diab etes. Facilitators Factors that helped these women manage their diabetes are referred to as facilitators, which are adaptive strategies and coping skills. These included improved

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119 awareness or thinking, various types of supports, the role of past experienc spiritual or religious beliefs, and their adopting new strategies for care. Improved awareness The most influential factor individuals mentioned in large part were that classes and experiences helped clear up misunderstandings, improve the wa y they thought about self care and increase their general understanding of diabetes self care This was evidenced by various individuals who acknowledged the importance of having knowledge about their diabetes, and due to diabetes education class, experie nces at the doctor and supplemental reading material, were better able to manage their diabetes What helped me the most? Knowing about diabetes is the biggest thing you know, knowing the effect that diabetes can have on you, and um in following the doctor s instructions in what I need to do to stay in control of diabetes. (P13) There is so much literature, and I think that sometimes knowledge helps too, ah cause when I am experience something different something may well click in my mind W ell I read this, this may be a new phase in my diabetes, but the reading material out there is great, and what is great about it is that a lot of it is free [ laugh s] all you have to do is request it, or s office or its i n the clinics or whatever, you just pick it up and take it home and you just learn from that so that has helped a great deal in the last few years . Now I am more aware of the not a given. (P1) T o a great extent for most of these women obtaining this information made them concentrate more on their diabetes. Many admitted that they did not incorporate a lot of the information in to their lives, but getting th at inform ation helped them know how to tackle various concerns or problems they had managing their diabetes. In addition some women indicated that they made good use of some of the information. For example, the information they read helped them consider alternativ e places t o test their glucose

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120 levels not just their finger s Al though not a strong motivator all the time, t his information helped them care for their diabetes somewhat better Support F amily members and friends, who m ight or m ight not have been diabeti c, all played a key role in helping the women manage their diabetes. The role the grandchildren played was also important because many of the women felt that living a long life for her family helped her care for her y (P5) In addition, losses of family members from diabetes had such an impact on them it influenced them to take better care of themselves. I t was kind of scary be cause my grandmother died of diabetes, and I know the things she went through with diabetes, she lost one of her eyes, she lost both of her legs, and it incapacitated her from doing the things that you know she was use to doing, and I am just hoping that mine stay under . lose my eyesight, or nothing, and I think with the experience and with the things that I knew about diabetes it helped me a lot to help myself with diabetes. (P13) Living d iabetic family members also supported the women when they were first diagnosed and subsequently impacted how they managed their T2DM The following diabetes. I had to bring my husband with me because they were going to explain to us the proper things to eat, the proper ways to eat, just information that would help us, the second day was more informational and I received my to go with me the second day. I scheduled me within that month or two. (P12) Another woman found support from her sister: P: My sister [who had developed it a long time before she did], she knows a lot about diabetes and everything . W e talk a lot. I: So how did she help you when you first got diabetes?

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121 P: She was constantly calling me ave you taken your meds? A re you eating the right things? Y ou got to do this, you got to do that S he still do it right now. (P7 ) It was also notable that a few women mentioned how knowing they were helping others provided support for them to deal with their diabetes and manage it better. If I go out and do something for some body and stuff and I come back, then I feel good, as long as I feel good about myself, and you know I know I done did good I know I got to take care of myself because there is somebody else out there that I got to go out there tomorrow, that I need to go out be ther e and be there for, you understand, and I need to be there for I got to show them a positive side you know diabetes [it gets in the way]. (P5) The role of family was very important to their self care behaviors and levels of awareness This ultimately affected their desire to manage their own diabetes. What was unclear was exactly how they followed through with these self care activities, but it was clear that the various channels of support, at the very least, proved encouraging factors for engaging in beneficial self care behaviors. Past experiences. P ast experiences seemed to help the women better manage their diabetes because they remembered what their diabetic family member had to endure and that motivated them to be proactive in their self care or impelled them to learn about diabetes and how to better manage their diabetes care : Yeah, see my mother was a diabetic too S bo ut stuff like they is now, back in them days S he had it so bad she used to end up going into seizure s you diabetic, you go through S he had one of her legs amputated, she went ng I know I got to do something, my eyes getting so bad. This eye here hurting [ points to eye ] make me an appointment. (P9) the experience and with the thi ngs that I knew about diabetes it helped, helped me a lot to help myself with diabetes. (P13)

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122 I learned from [my mother] if you follow the guidelines, healthy eating, timely eating, taking your prescribed medications, that you manage your diabetes quite w becomes a part of a routine, and she adjusted well to the routine. So I resentful [even though] my mom was not resentfu l. It was just a part of her health problems, and she was ok ay with it. She was okay with most things. I Beliefs. S piritual or religious beliefs helped the women not only concentrate on dealing with their diabetes but also influenced their day to day self care practices. Their D uring the Lenten season, I gave got it, t like sometimes you might and sometimes you might not. It just depends on how you take care of yourself and do what the doctor say t For many, t he role of their belief system was instrumental in helping them to better care for their diabetes: lost y ou know and they say with wisdom comes understa what I pray for. God give me the wisdom to know what kind of disease I am in and understanding what I need to do to take care of myself. (P6) Ad o pting new strategies for care M a ny women mentioned having to ado pt new strategies for self care These included establishing routines, following treatment recommendations ( or using folk medicine ) and controlling their weight by modifying their diet and increasing their exercise. They also cited having a positive attitude, listening to their bod ies and following the guidelines for care. In addition, women tried to remember their past experiences with diabetes and use those to currently manage their condition:

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123 I watch what I eat and take my medicine, you know and keep count of it once a day and you know I do the finger stick once a day, and even it runs low, in the morning when I do my fasting blood, I still take my medicine, carefully what I eat. (P1) w. I know I have to, I like to eat when I want to eat. Diabetes forces me to eat A nd they want me to be able to eat like small meals rather than eating a lot [in a few meals] (P2) And sometimes I do when I c me down. You live with it Y ou go through some changes and you try to do the best that you can, and you live through it Y ou go through it. (P6) T he main thing ? W atch your weight I f you keep your weight down then (P4) These strategies illustrate how women learned to monitor their glucose and diet, eliminate bad habits, and recognize their limitatio ns. Almost all the women had been intimately acquainted with the loss of loved ones due to diabetes or had someone in their family who suffered from diabetes. The impression the women had of past experiences with people in their lives who had diabetes ulti mately impacted their world view of diabetes, which seemed to affect not only how they dealt with their diabetes, but how each subsequently managed her condition. Discussion This section discusses the study findings in the context of the model for unders tanding the crisis of a physical illness, the conceptual framework that framed the present study. The findings illustrated that the women experienced an initial crisis and subsequent acceptance or resistance to their chronic illness that the women ventured through. The diabetes illness experience was considered a crisis to the women during

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124 resolution, allows equilibrium to be reestablished (Moos, 1982). Hence, the crisis e xperience evokes a turning point that may be either a healthy adaptation of personal growth and maturation or a maladaptive response of psychological deterioration or term ability to meet future crises (Moos, 1982) For the current study, as found in previous research by Puavilai (1996), diabetes was viewed as a chronic physical condition that caused crises in low income and low literate African American particularly since, in large part, the changin g nature of their diabetes ultimately often resulted in disequilibrium or disorganization in the lives of the women. In a similar light, a previous study showed that women, described as good self managers by their providers, described their early time of l earning self management as chaotic and very difficult (Ellison & Rayman, 1998). This crisis period was evident in this sample of women, because many of the women reacted in a maladaptive way to deal with their diabetes through denial or avoidance of their condition. Hence this framework was appropriate for the majority of women in this study. The embedded correlational design allowed for exploration of the conceptual framework. This allowed for different sets of research questions to be answered using the information gleaned from the participants in both the qualitative and quantitative data sets. Therefore, different applications to various parts of the conceptual framework (the model of understanding the crisis of a physical illness) were examined. The co nceptual framework was modified and had three overarching categories : precursors, skills and experience, and outcomes. The precursors are the first category in the model. Precursors are the Background and Personal Characteristics Illness related factors, and the Physical and S ocial

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125 E nvironmental factors. The second category, Skills and E xperience includes cognitive appraisal, coping, and adaptive tasks. The outcome was the third category and for this study included diabetes knowledge and self care activit ies. From precursors, women with diabetes obtain particular skills and experiences that equip them to live with their chronic condition and have certain outcomes, suggesting a continuous linear flow from precursors to skills and experiences to outcomes as suggested by Moos (1982). The following section discusses the research findings within the context of the proposed theoretical framework o f the study and the research literature. Each category of the framework is used as a heading to discuss the study fin dings. For each category, implications and suggestions for future research are presented. Limitations, methodological issues and a summary follow. Background and Personal, Illness Related, Physical and Social Environmental Factors and Skills and Experie nce Background and Personal Factors This study selected factors established by Moos (1982) that were pertinent to the research. These included age, gender, and socioeconomic status (measured by income level) sociodemographic factor (measured by inc ome level and level of education achieved ) was associated with the knowledge of T2DM scores. As the Silverman, Smola, and Musa ( 2000 ) study suggested, health is a multidimensional construct and experiences than would be a designation of not healthy. Religious beliefs previous illnesses and coping experiences highlighted from the qualitative findings help illustrate the multidimensional construct of health, specifically diabetes, as it related to African American women with T2DM in this study.

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126 Non significant correlations were found between SKILLD scores and (1) the two income variables: personal income (rho = 0. 24) and total household income (rho = 0. 21); (2) length of time with diabetes (rho = 0. 11); and (3) glycemic control with diabetes (r = 0. 17). In past studies, higher reported knowledge scores had significant associations with higher incomes, longer duration of diabetes, and better glycemic control (Rothman, 2005). Furthermore, p revious research (Nath, 2007) indicated that duration of disease may be a strong predictor of metabolic control. Hence, it was anticipated that African American women living with T2DM for a shorter period of time would be less knowledgeable about their diabetes. The research findings indicated no such association, so this finding is not consistent with the literature and does not align with the anticipated result that significant correlations would be found. Small sample size and other factors connected to this pa rticular population could be the reason for these findings. Further information and explanations from the qualitative study may help to explain this inconsistency in the findings when compared with the previous studies. Unlike the quantitative results that showed no association between, for example, duration of time with diabetes and knowledge scores, the qualitative findings suggest the need to consider length of time with diabetes. In the study, participants had had diabetes for anywhere from 1 to 32 years so it is evident, to some degree, that when reflecting on past experiences regarding when they were initially diagnosed, the women in the study admitted their past inadequate self care behaviors. They indicated that they did not adapt initially and that, had they acted differently from the very beginning, they would be in a healthier condition today. For example, some indicated that they would

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127 not have had to have a leg amputated or go through laser surgery because of their failing eyesight. As these wom en over time became more cognizant of their misconceptions about diabetes they indicated that, had they not reacted to their diagnosis of diabetes initially by avoidance and denial, they would not have been ineffective in their self care practices and had such serious consequences. One quote that best illustrates the realization that the women had later in life is: W hat you are really working on [regarding diabetes] iabetes has already started, so when it started then you have to start and you have to go all the way. (P1) M any of the women came to this realization, h owever, after a lifetime of consequences due to lack of self care It is imperative, therefore, that a s health educators we advocate to reach more of these women at the key juncture in their life when they are first diagnosed. It is important for collaborative efforts between public health, psychology, and health education practitioners to better target t he misconceptions and inadequate understanding of diabetes for African American women, particularly when they are first diagnosed, typically in a clinical setting. A second observation from the question on duration of time with diabetes was that the wome n reported that, because they had had diabetes for a long period of time, they f orgot the information previously taught to them in diabetes classes they had had earlier. Further, participants indicated that they had not had a refresher course due to curren t financial constraints or other competing priorities in their life, such as caring for their grandchildren. Hence, women need access to more diabetes education resources

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128 throughout their lives with diabetes to act as constant reminders about their ongoing diabetes self care efforts. Additionally, the importance of duration of time with diabetes was evident in th o se women who displayed an unwillingness to engage in self care behaviors when they were first diagnosed with diabetes because their initial resp onse was denial. Some participants for example refused to take the ir medication due to misconceptions and used folk medicine such as aloe vera as an alternative Other women expressed their frustration with treatment when they were first diagnosed, sinc e they felt they were not getting the care they needed from their provider because they felt stereotyped as a y were first diagnosed impacted their subsequent self care behaviors. Funnel and Anderson (2003) suggested the need for more information and in home guidance for diabetics especially because of the serious and chronic nature of diabetes, the complexity o f its management, and the multiple daily self care decisions that diabetes requires (Funnell & Anderson, 2003). Th e i r study similar to the current study suggests the urgent nature of helping the newly diagnosed adjust to their new life in general. In this regard, being adherent to a predetermined care program is generally 2003). It is therefore imperative as a public health initiative to start filling the system gaps that would help African American women diabetics within their communit ies to get this consistent flexible care throughout their life time

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129 Another background and personal factor that the women made reference to was the role of their spiritual beliefs as a su pportive agent for changing their lifestyle s to employ better self care practices. Many of the women were recruited from churches with a predominantly high African American congregation. All the women expressed having a strong faith in God and the importan t role that God played in their lives to help them not only acknowledge their diabetes, but also to engage in appropriate self care having faith in God. Because I coul d have been lost. God give me the wisdom to know what kind of disease I am in and understanding what I need to do to take care of Community access for interventions has to increasingly consider the church when promoting self care effor ts, because this study, like previous research (Rahi m Williams, 2004 ) further justifies the important role a belief in God plays as a strong facilitator of self care behaviors. Hence, interventions for self care behaviors within the community may need to find better ways to incorporate a spiritual component in their process of self care with this target population. By tapping into all the avenues in the community, including the churches, women may have more opportunities to attend education classes for sup port channels for diabetes despite their competing priorities. Traditionally, the success of patients in manag ing their diabetes has been judged by their ability to adhere to a prescribed therapeutic regimen. Unfortunately, this approach does not match th e reality of diabetes care because many of the women indicated competing priorities and job demands. Diabetes self care needs to also be flexible and consistent. Despite attempts to encourage, cajole, and persuade patients to

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130 perform self care tasks, pract itioner frustrations mount when patients are unwilling or unable to follow advice to achieve desired outcomes (Funnell & Anderson, 2003). In addition, pertaining to the coping experiences another observation from the qualitative study was that timing of an illness in the life cycle of the woman with diabetes was considered to be of interest in this study. The qualitative findings also found that participants diagnosed with the disease later in life seemed to move to acceptance far quicker than those who w ere diagnosed early in life. Also, participants drew from past experiences to cope with the illness that threatened their life goals and established roles as Moos and Tsu ( 1977 ) and Moos ( 1982 ) suggested. What was notable was that individuals who mentione d that they utilized past experiences in the qualitative study did not always do so positively. For example, some accepted the role they played for their family members who had diabetes but resented, felt frustrated by or avoided their new role as the one having diabetes. However, for the most part, the women used the experiences positively to impact current self care behaviors. With the increasing number of younger women diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative to reach these women to help them adjust to life with their dia betes from the very beginning. The conceptual framework was modified to include measuring only length of time with diabetes or duration of disease and glycemic control. However, the original tenets of the framework presented by Moos & T su ( 1977 ) and Moos ( 1982 ) also promoted the idea that d ifferent organs and functions may have a psychological significance not pertaining to the biological factors related to survival. For example, loss of an eye from diabetes may have more psychological s ignificance than a severe diabet ic hyperglycemic crisis that, if left untreated, may directly threaten life. The qualitative

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131 many of the women, loss of their kidney f unction and having to go on dialysis was such a negative factor it became a motivating catalyst for their self care activities. However, the significance of the different body parts as suggested by Moos (1982) was not explored in this study and could be an area for future research to explore. Physical and Social Environmental Factors These factors, specifically the aesthetic surroundings, the amount of personal space available, and the degree of sensory stimulation that cognitive fu nctioning, mood, and general morale (Moos & Tsu, 1977; Moos, 1982), was beyond the scope of this research. T his truncated section was addressed because the qualitative findings in large part dealt with the role of the family in dealing with diagnosis and managing diabetes. In his framework, Moos (1982) suggested the importance of the role of the relationships of patients and their families, features of the work setting, social supports in the wider community, and sociocultural norms and expectations Findi ngs were reported whereby the role of family was illustrated by the qualitative findings in large part. As in previous research that used a similar conceptual framework (Pauvaili, 1996), family support was a key sociocultural consideration. For instance, for the women in the study, the role of family or other support had a positive or negative impact on whether they exercised (Carter Edwards, Skelly, Cagle, and Appel, 2004). I n a 2004 study that evaluated the relationship of perceived social support to dia betes self management Carter Edwards and colleagues, found that participants described family and friend support networks as not understanding their needs and providing negative or non health

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132 promoting advice. This was corroborated in the current study fi ndings whe n women reported that: I can still do some things, my mama has got to the point where, I go to her W know quite understand how it works, they want you to be less active, when you It was also evident from the findings that not having family or other support impacts their inactivity regarding exercise for the ir diabetes self care This is best illustrated in the following quote, which indicates that not having support accounted for her lack of engaging in diabetes self care activities despite her knowledge that exercise was important for her diabetes self mana gement : Probably get it would be nice if I had a partner that I could go walking with. . one to walk with me, it would be nice if I got someone n exercise class because it costs money. (P8) From the findings, most of the women had been intimately acquainted with the loss of loved ones due to diabetes or had had someone in their family who suffered with diabetes, which led to the strong culture of caring for others for these diabetic women. Previous studies, such as Skelly and colleagues (2005), described the development and validation of a new multiple care giving (MC) measure and examined how familial care giving related to family composition and psychosocial factors among older African American women with T2DM Both MC role and MC barrier scores were positively N number of adults living in the household. MC barriers were associated negatively with

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133 quality of life, and positively with stress, barriers to diabetes self care, and negative perceptions of diabetes competence. In a multivariate model, age and difficulty saying N ficant independent predictors of MC barriers. Both the current study and previous studies therefore suggest that a better understanding of African American women with diabetes in the context of family and care giving roles may be important to identifying c ulturally meaningful strategies to improve se lf care behaviors (Samuel Hodge, Skelly, Headen, and Carter Edwards, 2005). This sociocultural factor of the role of family emerged and increased or decreased family involvement and impacted self care activitie s was evident in the qualitative findings. However, future research needs to focus primarily on other dimensions for this sociocultural family component, not only within the context of the conceptual framework, but to also find ways to improve the measurem ent of sociocultural variables that affect self care practices in minority populations. Social factors, education and public access, for example, still play a significant role in health outcomes with sociocultural and behavioral lifestyle issues being hig hly correlated with disparities (Ashley, 1999). F or these women with diabetes, there was a strong culture of caring for others. This culture of caring for others has major implications for health educators. As grandparents, these women will in turn care fo r the third generation, and if they pass on a legacy of bad eating habits and other lifestyle traits that are risk factors for diabetes, then the cyclical trend of obesity and incidence and prevalence of diabetes will continue to disproportionately affect these women and their descendants

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134 The l iterature on diabetes and behavioral change emphasizes the importance of factors are also important determinants of the ways in which people with diabetes behave with respect to their self care ; Skelly, et al., 2000). role in how they dealt with and managed their diabetes. T hese attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions that either stagnated care or fostered care. It is therefore imperative that prevention of worsening conditions and promotion of ongoing care are a constant focus for improving the system. Further, since l imited research addresses the unique needs of sicker patients from their perspective s (Mason et al, 2002), this study is particularly important because it examin es the experiences of a very specific vulnerable segment of people with poor health status. In addition, other important sociocultural norms pertaining to the stigma of excessive weight were also evident. Most w omen indicated that one difficulty they faced was that they felt others were prejudiced against them, particularly at work, and that the y had to deal with this during their life experience with diabetes as was indicated in the following quote: it has been to my benefit not to tell them I worked on this job on a temporary basis at first and I do believe that they would have hesitated in hiring me if they had known that I was a chronic diabetic, you know there other women in the office who are diabetic, so the word is talked about a lot so, it s thrown around a lo t . I think that made them wonder, or hesitate a little bit more, despite the fact that I probably was doing a good job and my first evaluation was outstanding S o despite that, I think it would have prejudiced them against me a little bit to know tha t I was a diabetic, so I think that it was a good idea to withhold that, ah on other jobs that I have had (P2)

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135 T he need to control weight to manage their diabetes was an issue that all the women raised However, weight was also considered by the w omen in a sociocultural context. health nurse to reinforce her belief that she could not lose too much weight because she felt that her community would feel that she was on crack or had AIDS. This particular incident was expressed by one individual, but the general sentiment among the participants was the role of friends and family in helping or hindering them with their weight issues; some felt childhood lessons followed through to adulthood. The lesson here is that health educators have to increasingly advocate for improved coverage of targeted classes and social support groups guided by individuals who can identify and correct misconceptions and improve self care practices based on the context they have to consider. I n addition to the sociocultural, the book by Liburd ( 2010 ) Diabetes and Health disparities, a s an alternative, suggests that to understand and respond to the escalating burden of T2DM among minority populations in the U S, a socio ecological approach needs to be adapted. This approach argues that to move beyond clinical interventions in high risk populations, you must identify the key role of the socioeconomic condition that shape population health, examine the cumulative risks for illness across the lifespan, and understand to a greater extent the social and psychological conditions interacting with biological mechanisms to cause disease (Berkman & Lochner, 2002; Liburd, 2010). This is an important consideration for the c urrent theoretical framework, the model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness that aims to capture many of the dimensions of the socio ecological approach. Further, employing a mixed methods

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136 study helped to assess various strengths of the mode l in its consideration of the socio ecological approach. Therefore, future research need s to examine the model for the crisis of a physical illness when considering not only the sociocultural aspects of diabetes care and intervention, but also the proces s of learning to manage diabetes self care More needs to be done, therefore, regarding examining how and to what extent the socioecologic domains are all accounted for within the context of a crisis o f a physical illness framework, particularly because th e framework proposes a continuum of crisis/disruption and possibly refine the context for further exploration of sociocultural variables to better exp lore the process of learning to self manage diabetes. Only a limited number of studies focusing on the pat reveal the process nature of learning to self care their diabetes (Rayman & Ellison, 2004; Ellison & Rayman, 1998; Hernandez, 1995; Price, 1993). Further, though the human environment component was not measured using the quantitative knowledge scale, it was addressed because the qualitative findings in large part dealt with the role of the family in dealing with diagnosis and managing diabetes. Particularly because limited evidence indicates that improvements in the social environment are direc tly associated with decreases in the incidence of T2DM (Liburd, 2010 p. 5), the human environment section provided pilot data to consider in future studies regarding the social environmental factors impacting diabetes self management Skills and Experience Skills and experience is the second component of the model and includes appraisal and activation, major adaptive tasks and major types of coping skills. This section was primarily addressed qualitative ly Moos (1982) indicated that collectively the

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137 facto rs influence one another and affect the self management skills and experience of a person. For this study the skills and experience category was be s t served by categorizing them as influential factors based on the findings from the qualitative data that illustrate how the women dealt with their diagnosis of diabetes and their self care behaviors. A key suggestion would be to modify the framework as it pertains to influential factors. This would capture a more interactive process flow of the dynamic s of li ves of the women with diabetes. In general, the African diabetes fell in to two broad categories, dealing with the diagnosis of T2DM and management of T2DM, with a number of consistent and unique factors influencing both cat egories. Dealing with the diagnosis was captured by sections such as reactions and influential factors. Reactions to diabetes took the form s of denial, avoidance, or acceptance. These factors clustered around perceived long term consequences, p ast experiences, level of awareness or understanding or misunderstanding of their condition, seminal events, and support. Management of T2DM was also organized by descriptions or experiences regarding difficulties or barriers to self care The facilitators were generally adaptive tasks and learning coping skills for health care. Cognitive appraisal. This is defined as the way in which the potential stressor is perceived, and may or may not be a mediating factor. Activation or arousal occurs whe n the environment is appraised as necessitating a response that fosters efforts to adapt and cope that are directed at the perceived adaptive tasks (Moos,1982). The nature of these tasks is affected by the meaning of illness, by personal factors, and by th e

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138 selection of relevant coping skills that are influenced by environmental factors. The result of adaptation and coping may affect the outcome of the crisis (Moos, 1982). Only the perceived meaning of the cognitive appraisal process was explored in this st udy. type of illness or as something related to blood sugar, or they defined it based on s perceived meaning of diabetes was a key factor giving great insight into how they experienced diabetes that is how they dealt with their diagnosis and managed their condition. Past research indicates personal evaluation of health is a complex process no t fully understood (Idler, 1999 ; Silverman, Smola & Musa, 2000 ), and the cognitive (Silverman, Smola & Musa, 2000). This may shed light on factors that contribute d to the women s many and disparate recommendations to others regarding self care but found it difficult to manage their own diabetes. They admitted that diabetes was a complex process that required more resources, more support channels, or better treatment. Adaptive t asks. The findings indicate that this section which falls under skills and experience could be considered in conjunction with some of the precursor factors. For example, the length of time with diabetes can have adaptive skills (general and illness adapt ive tasks) affiliated. The illness tasks include coping with symptoms, their environment and treatment procedures, and their relationship maintenance with healthcare staff.

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139 G eneral tasks include being able to preserve (a) reasonable emotional balance, (b) satisfactory self image and sense of competence and mastery, (c) relationships with family and friends, and (d) preparation for an uncertain future (Moos, 1982). Individuals mentioned some of these domains but future research needs to explore each to obt ain a better sense of the role these play in the illness experience and in helping successful adaption of self care behaviors. Coping skills. According to the model, coping skills include mental and behavioral components that are viewed as positive and tea chable. C oping skills include seven adaptive tasks typically used: ( 1 ) denying or minimizing the seriousness of the crisis; ( 2 ) seeking information about the illness, treatment procedures, and probable outcomes; ( 3 ) learning specific illness related proced ures such as giving self insulin injections or running a home dialysis machine; ( 4 ) maintaining a regular routine and setting concrete limited goals; ( 5 ) managing self presentation and ability to request needed reassurance and support; ( 6 ) preparing self m entally and rehearse potential alternative outcomes; and ( 7 ) finding a general purpose or pattern of meaning in the course of events. Moos (1982) indicated that these can and may be used individually, consecutively, or in various combinations, and this bec ame evident as the study data was collected and analyzed For example, looking at a aw the process of acceptance that occurred after denial Subsequent reliance on family for encouragement, for example, was evident in the findings The experience and perceptions self organized into two distinct categories and were affected by a number of consistent and unique factors influencing both categories. W hen they were first diagnosed, t he majority of the par ticipants,

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140 reacted with denial and avoidance Those who initially denied or avoided their condition disregarded their condition until diabetes caused some serious cons equences in their lives in the form of a seminal event; their misconceptions about diabetes led to inadequate understanding of the necessity of treatment. acceptance and the highs and lows associated with trying to walk the intricate path of diabetes self care At the date s of the interviews, all participants accepted their condition and were in the process of caring for their diabetes. In sum, few participants initially accepted their diagn osis and w ere proactive in their self care Over time, surmounting various barriers to self care through education and experience, their initial fears were assuaged and their beliefs modified, particularly with regard to diabetes ny of the women recognized that if properly self managed, they could l ive a long life with diabetes and were currently proactive in their self care. M ost of the women found a general purpose to their diabetes in that they did their self care activities an d tried to help others so that they could be around for their grandchildren. Combined, these two components, precursors (background and personal factors, illness related factors, physical and social environmental factors) and skills and experiences (cognit ive appraisal, adaptive tasks, coping skills) determined the outcome of the crisis, how individuals cared for their diabetes, and their knowledge level (Moos & Tsu, 1977). That the participants found a general purpose or pattern of meaning in the course of

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141 loved ones, encouraged them to endure the journey of living with diabetes Those who den ied it, suffer ed long term consequences associated with not caring for their dia betes, then later recogniz ed their folly and belatedly engag ed in self care behaviors. This path is best captured in the following quote: Well now, what helps me to really try and encourage me to try and do better is, I have three kids that need me, I need to be healthier for myself, and then I have 3 kids that I adopted and that need me to be there for them, and husband that also depends on me so I got to take care of me in order to take care of any of them so I got to take care of me in order to take care of this other stuff that could happen to you with when your diabetes is not being taken care of. (P1 1) In addition, this woman resolved to not allow diabetes to affect her psyche and she was going to deal with it: you just take it and just go and do what you got to do to maintain yourself, in that what you have to do . because if There were va rious facilitators that fostered better self care behaviors. The various components presented by Moos in 1982 were comprehensive and a study focused solely on these factors could be augmented by considering the hope the women had for living as another comp onent to add to th e coping and adapting process. Allowing the bottom up data approach in th is analysis was important as this allowed for new factors to emerge, as opposed to imposing the established categories by Moos on the data. In addition, it may be im portant to consider domains from other studies. For example Hill Briggs ( 2003 ) proposed a problem solving model of chronic disease self management that had four essential components of problem solving skill from the proposed model of problem solving of chr onic disease self management : problem solving skill s orientation,

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142 disease specific knowledge, and transfer of past experience. In addition, the study findings revealed the importance of t he final domain, the transfer of past experience which impacted the women in positive and negative way s This would therefore be an important construct to considering adding for this section, but future research is needed to explore each of these suggestions further to better map out the possibilities how they interact an d impact each other within the context of the model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness framework. Outcomes: Diabetes Knowledge and Self Care Activities The outcomes for the conceptual framework, diabetes knowledge and self care are discuss ed next. In addition to t he continuous flow from precursors to skills and experiences to outcomes as suggested by Moos (1982) these findings also warrant tracking not only a continuous flow forward, but also a loop backward throughout the framework. For ex ample, as found in previous studies as Pauvali ( 1996 ) women perceived different information at different times and repeatedly interpreted that information. B ecause of this repeated interpretation, may emerge as a background factor based on a sessment, acceptance, and use of information outcome variables such as knowledge, For example, with diabetes knowledge as the outcome variable, it was observed that it could also be included as a precursor variable based on the qualitative findings that suggested that they had limited knowledge to begin with out with that later improved and impacted how they processed their diabetes and adapted. L ater we see how the improved knowledge they currently had could again be placed in the precursor section as a background factor from which to start the flow through the framework again, suggesting a continuous loop from one to the other then back to the original factor.

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143 The knowledge individuals initially had about diabetes was very different from the knowledge they gained after skills and experience were obtained. In essence, based on the findings, it was evident that there was no linear progression. Various factors that were thought to play a role later on in the process flow seem to emerge earlier. Hence it w a s not static, particularly when accounting for the dynamic lives of women with diabetes which illuminate which the components do not always flow in one specific order or rate Diabetes Knowledge Previous studies stratified the SKILLD knowledge scores int o two categories >50% for high knowledge and < 50% for low knowledge about diabetes (Rothman et al 2005). The study found that 55.8 % of the participants had high knowledge, while 44.2% had low knowledge. It had been anticipated that participants would h ave low knowledge about their diabetes as was true in previous studies (Rothman et al, 2005). T he found that 61.5% of the women had had some form of diabetes education class or had been taught by their doctor about diabetes. This may a ccount for why the women in this study had higher than the average knowledge levels. score according to certain cut off points does not represent the entire picture, since 44 .2 % had low knowledge in this study. Further, previous studies indicated that both limited literacy and limited health literacy are prevalent among most patients with diabetes, and are associated with poorer knowledge about the illness and its complicat ions, worse glycemic control, and higher rates of retinopathy (Powell et al, 2007). Though the stratification was set at the midpoint in Rothman and colleagues study, where anything above the midpoint was deemed to be high knowledge, higher

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144 standards for knowledge level s need to be achieved for African American women, especially because it is well established, particularly in the health education literature, that knowledge does not translate to behavioral change. It is therefore also important to note th at despite the fact that for this study the majority of participants fell in the high knowledge category ( Rothman et al., 2005 ) the qualitative findings in part indicated how knowledge helped some but also hurt others Knowledge hurt the women because o f past experiences with loss that tainted their view of someone with diabetes, so it rendered them inactive regarding self care In a different light, knowledge helped some individuals because past misconceptions were altered by new knowledge and they came to the realization that they could live a long and productive life if they effectively managed their diabetes. However, positive findings indicate that comprehensive diabetes management programs, with educational strategies appropriate to low literate pat ients, were of greater benefit to patients with low literacy than those with higher literacy (Rothman, et al. 2004). The quantitative study indicated that participants had high knowledge of diabetes and the qualitative study revealed possible factors th at accounted for this. First, many of the women had had diabetes for a long period of time or had relatives or friends who had diabetes. Further, the results show the majority of women in this study had diabetes education classes. Hence, past experiences c oupled with more diabetes self care education could also have accounted for this finding. For example, the women specifically indicated that their knowledge was gleaned through various life experiences with diabetes, and at the time of their interview s man y of the women had had diabetes for a n average 9 years with a range of 1 to 32 years

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145 Despite the high knowledge that women reported they had, they indicated that it was not until certain factors regarding past experiences or seminal events occurred that t hey used this knowledge for themselves as a motivator for better self care of their condition. Influential factors may have included such seminal events as loss of a family member or friend to diabetes overcoming certain fears, or experiencing de bilitatin g physical condition s due to long term consequences of poor self care such as complications associated with not monitoring diabetes or just denying their condition because of the stigma or difficulty of accepting their condition Individual ved meaning of diabetes was a key factor in how they integrated it into the context of the ir lives Most w omen initially perceived diabetes to of those women subsequently reacted to this perception with denial and avoidance For those who initially denied or avoided their condition, they distanced themselves from their diabetes and disregarded their condition until the diabetes caused some serious consequences in their lives in the form of a ences had a common denominator; their eventual journey to acceptance and the highs and lows associated with trying to walk the intricate path of diabetes self care Ellison & Rayman ( 1998 ) showed that women, identified as good self managers by their provid ers, described their early time of learning self management as chaotic and very difficult In a similar light, Rayman and Ellison (2004) qualitatively described the early experiences and day by day reality of learning to self manage T2DM among women in a n intensive control program; they identified some of the reasons for th eir difficulties and that understanding and early tim ing of successful self management as

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146 necessary to the design and tim ing of positive intervention management. Th is study confirms thi s finding and also recognize s that priority needs to be given to this learning and accepting, early in the disease process for African American women with T2DM. Further, interspersed with their lack of knowledge and the difficult adjustment after initial d iagnosis, the concept of fatalism needs to be considered as a possible factor that may have been affecting these women when they were first diagnosed. Minimizing their condition because they were not aware of the potential severity of diabetes was not a fa ctor for the women in this study, since all had had experience with someone who was either severely affected by diabetes or died as a consequence of the disease More credence could therefore be given to the women having fatalistic attitudes Fatalism is c haracterized by perceptions of hopelessness, worthlessness, meaninglessness, powerlessness, and social despair (Egede & Bonadonna, 2003). Alt hough not well characterized as a barrier to effective self management for African American s, fatalism appears to c ontribute to ineffective diabetes self care and poor outcomes for this population (Egede & Bonadonna, 2003). Thus i t is not a stretch to suggest the need for future research to explore whether the impact of the initial phase for women who were diagnosed w ith diabetes may be caused by perceiving diabetes to be a result of fatalistic perceptions that consequently limits diabetes self management care practices. The findings indicate that although many women started out with a possible fatalistic appro ach, most ultimately decided to better care for their diabetes. It is important to also consider the role of depression (Jack, 2010), as a reaction to a diagnosis of diabetes.

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147 Evans ( 2003 ) noted that a ccording to some social epidemiologists education has b een proposed to equip individuals with the means to become people who gain control of their health by developing healthy lifestyle that help to mediate the association between health and education. Further, previous research has identified the associations between educational attainment and health behaviors that are partic ularly important in diabetes (Karter, Stevens, B rown, Duru, Gregg, Gary, et al. 2007). Karter and c olleagues ( 2007 ) focused on educational disparities in diabetes related health behaviors They found that patients with less education had significantly lower predicted probabilities of adapting health seeking behaviors, being a non smoker and engaging in regular exercise. Further, various unhealthy behaviors and psychological states have b een associated with poor childhood conditions inadequate education, blue collar empl oyment, and financial barriers (Murray, Salomon, Mathers and Lopez, 2002). Health education is a prerequisite for effective self management of diabetes, but previous resear ch corroborates that knowledge does not necessarily predict outcomes. Therefore, in populations that have large knowledge deficits, even a small increase in knowledge may contribute to improved self care (Nath, 2007). The findings which refuted the null hypothesis because there wa s a positive significant correlation (rho = 0. 24) between SKILLD scores and the year of education. Hence, participants with more years of education were more likely to have better knowledge about diabetes. Increased years o f education equip ped individuals with key information that ma de resources not only accessible, but how to obtain that information more accessible. Consequently, in the qualitative findings, individuals with increased education levels

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148 noted that they sought information, constantly read literature about diabetes, went to ongoing diabetes classes. These individuals also expressed diabetes self management as an intricate task that involved a number of variables, while those who were less educated were not as en thusiastic or motivated to seek for future knowledge about diabetes, or they did not feel that diabetes care was a struggle ; they were more concerned with doing what they needed to do to which primarily was taking their medication and altering their diet a nd having to follow rules and all that entailed. The findings also suggest, with regard to clinical practice, more attention be paid in the form of resources g eared toward women at the initial stage s of their disease This may mean increased number s of hea lth educators and counselors to do initial assessments which should include lifestyle as well as knowledge, to help better serve the individual. I n 2007 the American Association of Diabetes Educators stated that diabetes education ha d seven self care beh aviors that are essential for improved health status and quality of life T hey are healthy eating, being active, glucose monitoring, taking medication s problem solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks. However, factors that contribute to the gap betwe en actual delivery and use of these skills need to be further explored, identified, and improved. For health educators, this may also mean ensuring that these assessments are in sync wit h pertinent theory, such as the Transtheoretical Stages of C hange mode l (Prochaska, Redding, & Evers, 2002 p.100 ) to make sure that these assessments help tap into the dimensions necessary to solicit relevant information. Future research could also look into various assessments to ensure that they capture the relevant info rmation needed from these women so that health educators, clinicians can better serve them.

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149 diabetes, and their self care practices. The participants listed some treatment concern s but gaps were also evident to the researcher regarding why more is not being done to implement the transfer of healthcare system education to practical use by the patients M ore attention needs to be focused on the period right after diagnosis. Diagnosi s sensitivity training where clinicians develop support systems within their practice s to better deal with the misconceptions, fears, depression, and fatalistic views that individuals recently diagnosed with diabetes may have. Though hospitals may be equi pped with social workers, health educator s ministers, and counselors, you need a multidisciplinary team to help an individual recently diagnosed deal with her diabetes. In addition, it was evident that not all women take advantage of the diabetes educati on classes or information told to them or given to them by their doctors. Further, some women fall through the system once they are diagnosed; this was demonstrated by the 44 .2 % that had low knowledge about their diabetes. The findings s uggest, therefore, that in addition to classes, perhaps the system needs assessments to gauge their readiness to accept their diagnosis, and their readiness to learn There are a number of potential intervention points for health educators. Thus there is value for clinical practices to consider using this study as a pilot for understanding the importance of intervening from the very beginning and following up, waiting until the participant go es through some crisis or seminal event to bring her to that point. It is clear that but this was not sufficient to sustain long lasting change.

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150 Diabetes self care activities help prevent severe long term consequences and may ultimately improve quality of lif e. It is evident from the findings in this study that, far more often than not, women with diabetes wait until they are affected physically in part before they seek treatment as can be seen from the following quote: I have retina disease in my eyes, that i s the down that is a downfall, of the suppose to S s faults but mine A s long as I do what I suppose to do for the diabetes kno w a heart attack, a little mild stroke R ight now I never had high blood pressure, but now I have high blood pressure they first diagnosed me with the diabetes, of taking the pills, exercising, eating right, doing what I want doing what I suppose to do had these things. (P4) Diabetes Knowledge and Self care Activities T he findings of this study specifically showed that SDSCA specific diet were positively correlated (r = 0. 28) and w ere significant. This me ans that if an individual had higher knowledge scores they were more likely to also have better specific diets that include d fruits and vegetables and avoidance of high fat foods and full fat dairy products. SKILLD scores and SDSCA foot care were also pos itively correlated (rho = 0. 40) and w ere significant. The results showed that participants who tend ed to engage in self care activities for foot care during the last seven days by checking their feet and inspecting the inside of their shoes had more knowle dge about diabetes than their counterparts. The findings from this study refuted the null hypothesis that participants would have no associations between level of knowledge about diabetes and their self care activities for foot care and specific diet. Don ahoe and colleagues (2000), when evaluating a model of diabetes, integrated foot care in a randomized control trial, and also found that patients in the intervention group who had foot exams, and received foot care education found the se useful. The

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151 qualita tive results from that study also indicated that women not only had good knowledge about their foot care but were likely to engage in foot care, as many participants indicated taking better care of their feet Other findings from the Gale and colleagues (2 008) qualitative study which explored beliefs about diabetic foot complications and everyday foot self care practices among people with T2DM found that most participants were unsure of what a foot ulcer wa s and unaware of the difficulties associated wit h ulcer healing. Prevention of accidental damage to the skin was not considered a priority, as few participants knew that this is a common cause of foot ulceration. In the current study, however, though foot ulceration was not the specific term used the pa rticipants were both quantitatively and qualitatively aware of the importance of preventing accidental damage to the skin regarding foot care, in large part to prevent foot amputation. The points regarding foot care are illustrated in the following: I tol d you about my best friend, who dead and gone now S he never watched her sugar S he knows she had it and she knows it was serious but sometimes I wonder if she ever realized how serious it could be, you know cause the way you treat yourself . like I saw her walk around with no shoes on and bumping and stumping your feet up against furniture and going on Y Y ou have to be more carefu l. You have to be very careful like th at and if you do happen to hurt yourself, your hand or your feet, you n eed to watch that very closely. (P4) Many participants in this study also recognized that lower limb amputation is more (2008 ) study, whose participants predominantly perceived that the cause was due to poor blood supply to the feet and unrelated to foot ulceration, only one person in the current study specifically mentioned this possibility, but this was beyond the scope of the present study. However, what was important to recognize from this finding is that individuals did not necessarily

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152 need to know the specific cause to be alarmed knowing the consequence s of losing a limb. Past experience also acted not only as a teacher fo r the women but as a motivator to engage in better foot care, and this could explain the possible significant results identified in this study. It is plausible to consider that maybe knowledge gained from past learning experiences with diabetes and other illnesses may account for the positive relationships between foot care and knowledge of diabetes scores. Clark and colleagues (1991) found that although self management tasks are specific to an illness, for example, measuring blood glucose for diabetes, t here are also core self management tasks that are common to all illness categories that include physical activity, smoking cessation, maintaining a healthy diet, recognizing and responding to symptoms, and using medications, to list a few. Valuable insigh t was gained from the qualitative findings regarding how individuals may extend such self care tasks as monitoring symptoms in general to foot care, specifically based on past experiences. The qualitative study also illustrated that women with other co mor bidities such as cancer felt that since they made it through cancer they would not allow diabetes to impact them. They viewed cancer to be more threatening so if they could do self care activities to help themselves with their diabetes care they were encouraged to do so. However, past experiences and prior learning did not necessarily help the women engage in self care behaviors. Furthermore, al though the women with diabetes had good knowledge about diabetes in general, they were unable to engage in p reventive behaviors for a variety of reasons. For example, the women expressed physical

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153 constraints such as not having the energy or having knee issues or foot pain or chronic pain that incapacitated them from doing the necessary exercise s that w ere ident ified from the qualitative findings. This is illustrated in the following : I wish I could have energy to get up and walk, walking is good for you I did it before, before I got real heavy, and I use to enjoy walking, and just be outside playing with the k ids, the grandchildren B ut all that gone. (P8) matter a fact have my knee I I t hurts me to sit down, it hurts me to stand up, it hurts me However, knowledge does not predict behavior. Some questions on the knowledge scale for diabetes pertained to exercise. Specifically, the question asked how many times per week and for how long someone with diabetes should exercise. In this study, SKILLD scores and SDSCA exercise were negatively correlated (r = 0. 07), and it was not significant. T he possible discrepancy between having knowledge and using that knowledge in part was explained by the qualitative findings. It would therefore be important for f uture research to consider not only correlating, but doing regression behaviors i individually on the SKI LLD survey to the corresponding activities measure on the SDSCA activities survey. I n the qualitative findings once they were first diagnosed with diabetes, these women, reported low diabetes knowledge. Though only current knowledge levels were measured in this study, Rothman, Malone, Brayant, Horlen, DeWalt, and Pignone, (2004) showed that comprehensive diabetes disease management programs, with educational strategies appropriate for low literate patients, were of greater benefit to patients with low lite racy than those with higher literacy

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154 Family support coupled with education may also help in changing lifestyle and act as a key motivating factor for w omen with diabetes. Deakin and c olleagues (2006) hypothesized in their study that the intervention used (X PERT Program) would lead to increased diabetes self management and sustained improvements in clinical, lifestyle, and psychosocial outcomes. The study did not refute the hypothesis, and participation in the X PERT Program led to improved glycemic contr ol; increased intake of fruit s and vegetables; increased knowledge about diabetes; readiness to change and setting and achieving goals; and improved self management skills through increased physical activity and foot care at 14 months. Similar to the findi ngs in the present study, increased knowledge about diabetes was associated with increased intake of a specific diet (eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding high fat foods or full fat dairy products). Increased knowledge itself is not a predictor of beh avior (Nath, 2007), rather health educators are charged with the task of understanding health behavior to transform knowledge about behavior into effective strategies for health enhancement (Glantz, Rimer, & Lewis, 2002) However, having a greater understa nding of the type of foods to be avoided or reduced are key health messages that point diabetics in the right direction for care. The qualitative findings also indicated that women learning what foods not to eat, in combination with family support for elim inating that food, helped motivate them to engage in better self care behaviors. I: S o your daughter losing all that weight P: N ow she [her daughter] beginning to read the cans and stuff and seeing them, and the things she be drinking she be telling me about certain things you know (laugh) . so I said you know I guess I want her to go with me and start buying some of the stuff what she buying she have to write all of this down, she got t o give it to me like last week she lost 7 inches of fat . and I want she going to run off some of the copies

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155 of the recipes, like what the doctor, they had gave her all kinds of recipes. (P 13 ) Further, a study by Osborn and Egede (2010) applied the Information Motivation Behavioral Skills (IMB) model to diabetes self care using the diabetes knowledge scale and the summary of diabetes self care activities measure. With regard to the outcomes for these scales, diabetes self care information and mo tivation were associated with behavior, and behavior was linked to lower A1C levels. In essence, having more information (greater diabetes knowledge), having more personal motivation (less diabetes fatalism), and having more social motivation (more social support) was associated with better diabetes self care behavior; and behavior was the sole predictor of glycemic control For the present study, it was hypothesized that there would be no association between knowledge and glycemic control and this was c onfirmed from the study findings. However, al though past studies measured knowledge differently from the present study, the result s found that increased diabetes knowledge was positively associated with performing better diabetes self care regarding glyc emic control a discrepancy not obvious from the qualitative findings O ne explanation could be that since individuals with less knowledge had less access to testing supplies, as was evident from the qualitative findings, when they were test ed it may hav e been when they were at the doctor s for example. Knowing they were going to the doctor, they overweig ht and unconcerned as some participants expressed from the qualitative findings. The small sample size may have also accounted for this discrepancy

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156 In this study, 7 of the 52 participants smoked and 45 did not The independent t test indicated no statisti cally significant difference in SKILLD scores between the two groups P revi ous studies by Haire Joshu and c olleagues (1999) summarized the literature on diabetes and smoking related to epidemiological risks, efficacy, and cost effectiveness of different ce ssation approaches, and found that there was minimal information on the effectiveness of cessation interventions specific to people with diabetes. Nevertheless, they indicated that there is no reason to assume that cessation intervention would be more or l ess effective in this population. Although the findings f rom the current study showed no association between knowledge about diabetes and self care regarding smoking or nonsmoking, the qualitative findings revealed that diabetic smokers still have very si milar triggers and struggles about quitting smoking, despite the fact that they know it is not good when combined with diabetes. The role of another sociocultural support with regard to smoking in a negative light is also highlighted in the following quote : I got to stop, I know I got to stop and I try not to buy, but then a friend came out the pack like this . I and I really got to stop I sure do, but then I be here by myself and, what it is me eat, smoking the cigarettes at, I smoking a cigarette I done forgot about everything else, as long as I got some water or ice in my hand, I mean what gets me right now. (P9) Though only 13.5% of the participants in the pres ent study smoked, th os e participants had a desire to quit smoking. Haire Joshu and colleagues (1999) also indicated that there is a clear need to increase the frequency of smoking cessation advice and counseling for patients with diabetes, given the strong and consistent data

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157 on smoking prevalence; combined risks of smoking and diabetes for morbidity, mortality, and several complications; and the proven efficacy and cost effectiveness of cessation strategies. Health Education and Diabetes Self care Diabet es self management education (DSME) plays a specific role in diabetes care because it is an ongoing process of facilitating the knowledge, skill s and ability necessary for diabetes self care which incorporates the needs, goals, and life experiences of the diabetic for the ultimate outcomes of informed decision making, self care behaviors, problem solving, and active collaboration with the healthcare team to improve clinical outcomes, health status, and quality of life (Funnell et al 2007). From a health education standpoint applying the crisis framework and using a mixed method study allowed the researcher to identify, in part, the mechanisms relevant to health educators that support actions and lifestyles that are of positive benefit to an African Ameri can wom a fe with diabetes. The study also helped gain v aluable information that addressed many areas of health education that can be used as a guide launch ing pad for future health promotion programs. Prolonged planning and routine monitoring, preven tion, coordination of care, education, and self management are constantly needed for those with chronic illnesses but far too often, prevention and health promotion are shortchanged, despite the fact that many diseases such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes are among the most prevalent and costly, yet are the most preventable of all health problems (CDC, 2005). The findings of the study indicated that 56% of the sample recruited ha s a high level of knowledge. This is a step in the right direction and gives health educator s hope; however, future research is needed to identify how to better use

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158 effective diabetes care action plans, as well as conduct s elf management behaviors starting with their diagnosis and for subsequent periods for long term care. A key question is how to mobilize and involve patients in their own care and guide them in learning about their diabetes. Gazmararian and colleagues (2003 ) indicated that knowledge about their chronic diseases. In addition, Skelly and colleagues (2000) indicated that preliminary work must be done to identify concepts that are important to the particular grou p under study. This call has been answered in other studies that focused not only on African American s, but also Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans to develop culturally appropriate messages. S tudies such as the present one are needed to continue this re search endeavor because the diabetes epidemic continues to rise disproportionately in minority populations (CDC, 2003 ) Health educators need to be advocates for assembling a more multidisciplinary team, including psycholog ists and using assessments to hel p us identify immediate concerns and issues and to help patients tackle the problem. The study findings also highlighted the importan ce of identify ing and further explor ing when and what defines an individual s adaptation of effective self care and when af ter initial diagnosis did it happen Individuals have different adaptive processes so health educators need to better identify individual s adaptive or non adaptive behavior to better target intervention strategies for an individual s in clinical settings. For example women of lower socioeconomic status had jobs that were more physically demanding and retired at a later age. Competing life priorities therefore may have resulted in them being un able to manage their diabetes. Health educators may also

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159 conside r the diffusion of innovations theory as a possible strategy for diabetics to accept their condition (Oldenburg & Parcel, 2002) In addition, for the society at large, not employing their knowledge about self care and self care activities presents some ser ious long term implications particularly as it relates to cost because limited initial self care by diabet ics potentially results in high costs if more prevention is not channeled to early stages of diabetes self care The findings suggested that this vul nerable group of women had more extensive needs due to limited self care practices when they were first diagnosed t ypically resulting in more extensive needs and higher healthcare utilization (Mason et al., 2002). Findings from this study could help clini cians understand the sociocultural lives of these women and how best to configure and consider treatment in the context of their lives. For example if they lack the means to purchase medication, then they clearly need to be connected to a clinic that is st ate funded. In every culture the older generation passes the torch to the next including African American women T h e i r culture of caring for others has major implications for health educators, especially because many of these women end up caring for thei r grandchildren exclusively or in conjunction with parents. As diabetics, if they pass on a legacy of bad eating habits and other lifestyle traits that are risk factors for diabetes, then the trend toward obesity and the incidence and prevalence of diabete s will continue to disproportionately affect these women. To establish a more positive cyclical pattern therefore means that health educators need to target African American women regarding their eating habits, their exercise behaviors by advocating for an d improving to

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160 choose to ad o pt better lifestyle traits to pass on to the next generation and subsequently reduce the physical and economic costs to the individual and ultimately so ciety at large. Cost and Diabetes Self care W ithin the healthcare system c hronically ill individuals are expensive to treat and become a disproportionate part of medical care costs. Chronic and no n acute care consumes much of the healthcare system dol lars and affects people from all arenas of life with different ages, income levels, and geographic regions (Anderson & Knickman, 2001). Specifically, total health care and related costs for the treatment of diabetes runs about $132 billion annually (NIDD KD, 2005). Practical, policy and systemic change is possible if more prevention dollars were given to promote awareness of good for such chronic illnesses as diabetes T he reality is that approximately 95% of the $ 2 trillion is spent on health care for d irect medical services and only 5% is allocated for prevention based programs (Goetzel 2001; McGinnis et.al. 2002; Satcher 2006 ; Thorpe 2005). Incentivizing prevention activities like medication use and exercise may be a way to get initially diagnosed wom en to focus on getting medications for treatment or engaging in healthy behaviors (Sutherland, Christianson, & Leatherman, 2008). Because some argue that the healthcare system is designed to deliver acute symptom driven crisis management care, it is less e ffectively configured to financially contribute to diabetes self care through health promotion; particularly regarding the development of community based collaborative daily self management initiatives. Therefore, policy makers may need to consider refocus ing on more long term fixes instead of Ba nd A id crisis management for the escalating costs attributable to chronic illnesses. This is particularly true for chronic illnesses that can be self managed and have positive results. A health promotion and preve ntion focused system would offer a more

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161 efficient use of scarce medical dollars in the long run. Health educators and health services researchers have a role to play in helping policy recognizing to actually f unding prevention and h ealth promotion projects that would potentially prolong life and impact generations. This means that to effectively address diabetes self care in the context in which we live, it is imperative that health educators become more creative Health educato rs a re effective tool s to improv e the health status of Americans because they are uniquely positioned to act as patient advocates and create social marketing projects the help improve our social capital. For example, in a clinical or hospital setting where ind ividuals learn that they have major diseases such as diabetes, health educators and psychologists can also advocate to recruit a multidisciplinary team approach to do more effective assessments to help better target individual s and their self care needs b efore they fall through the cracks of the system and only surface when they are stricken with severe health consequences which ultimately further drive up health costs that had there been intervention and compliance, could have been minimized. Particul arly salient are the challenges faced by the chronically ill Medicaid enrollees who bear the brunt of disparities for health care. Medicaid recipients by their very nature and eligibility requirements are disproportionately disadvantaged and suffer more co mplex health conditions (Lillie Blanton and Lyons, 1998). Medicaid recipients were not specifically identified by the demographic survey, but the semi structured interviews revealed that some of the women in this study belonged to this group making clear by their histories and comments that i ncreased disease management (including self management ) techniques for this population are needed. By increasing

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162 a diabetes disease management focus on participants cost savings are a potential benefit. Future researc h should examine diabetes self care programs in a primary care setting to evaluate if it resulted in fewer ambulatory care sensitive discharges in this population. Medicaid funds spent on ambulatory care sensitive care conditions such as diabetes could s ave money to be applied to other patients or expand enrollment if individuals are properly managed in a primary care environment which would mean they w ould not have fewer hospitaliz ations for that condition. Rahi m Williams ( 2004), who se research looked a t African American women and self management suggested that accessible community based self management programs covered by insurance should be funded and offered by private health care providers and public health programs, including community based organi zations, service clubs, faith based institutions and health care programs with access to the target community. This study also embraces this view in an effort to better serve the target population studied. I n 200 2 t he American Diabetes Association outlin e d clinical practice recommendations. Further, Funnell and colleagues 2009, noted that a goal of self management training and education is to ensure the collaborative processes through which people with or at risk for diabetes gain the knowledge and skill s needed to modify behavior and successfully self manage the ir diabetes and all related conditions, helps individuals with diabetes a chieve optimal health status, a better quality of life, and reduce the need for costly health care. H ealth educators and he alth services researchers a d o pting this goal

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163 The findings also indicate that focusing on prevention is something the women in this study need to understand when they are first diagnosed with diabetes so that they can slow the progression of their diabetes and increase their quality of life. Methodological Issues From the study process, various methodological concerns ar ose regarding the data collection. Some participants were not available to do follow up interview s For example, some participants who were on the extremes regarding higher or lower knowledge levels consented only to the first part of the study and not the second, or were not accessible by phone because they did not have one or it was disconnected. Participants were more concerned about having someone to speak to about their diabetes and the concerns they had than they were interested in measuring their kno wledge. Revisions of the IRB documents had to be done at various times to make every effort to expand the recruitment criteria. On various occasions, the most comfortable place for the participant meant that their grandchildren or other factors competed f or their attention during the interview. Another competing issue was that participants occasionally were interested in talking to someone generally regarding where to find resources or getting resources, and so they were also focused on this during the dat a collection or obtaining resources for care. Limitations The study ha d several limitations that should be noted when interpreting the results. Various considerations should be made based on recruitment. The sample was small and recruited from the North C entral Florida region. Alt hough the 52 participants were adequate for this study, the results cannot be generalized to all African American

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164 women with diabetes. Consequently the study insights and recommendations pertain to this specific culture of women with diabetes and may not apply to the different geographic regions. Because the study primarily identified associations, they should be interpreted with caution and should not seek to predict behavior. Lack of anticipated sample size and power or chance m ay account for absent relationships between variables that in previous studies showed the presence of a relationship. Further potentially confounding variables could have impacted the relationships identified in this study. The anticipated sample size was not achieved due in part to recruitment difficulties. These difficulties in participant recruitment, including no financial incentives, impacted the ability to recruit participants. Besides the posting of requests for volunteers, one r ecruitment strategy, snowball sampling was used and this may have resulted in potential bias in participant responses particularly when they were recruited by family members or friends. Furthermore, the sample population did not lend itself to effective follow up because th e attrition rate was relatively high. For example, it was the hope of the researcher to take the qualitative sample from the original sample of African American women, based on their scores from the SKILLD survey D ue to participant drop out, lack of a fo llow up contact number, and lack of interest in participating in a follow up interview, and the researcher d e ferred to interest and availability For qualitative research, no set standard exists for the total number of participants needed. To overcome thi s limitation, estimates were made based on prior research (Guest, 2006; Patton, 2002) for the point at which saturation is likely to occur.

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165 In addition, the findings from the survey will be informative for a particular subset of the community (who provide only one perspective) and the small sample size may allow recommendations to be made for only that limited subset Since all the interviews for both data sets were self reports this could have influenced the findings and so inferences should be made with caution. For example, the design did not include access to medical records for blood glucose levels to determine the specific HbAIC levels for individuals it was based on self report ing Also, many of the study participants had had diabetes education and may not be representative of all individuals in the target population with diabetes. Summary The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes knowledge and self care practices and explore experiences regarding diabetes among African American women. Fifty two participants met the study criteria. The statistical power showed a favorable result ( 0 .92) based on a two tailed hypothesis and type I error at 0 .05. The mean age for the sample was 55, ages ranging from 40 to 64. The majority (86.5%) of the participan ts were from Alachua County. Participants had had diabetes for an average of 9 years, the longest for 32 years. The mean for those who disclosed their blood sugar reading was approximately 136 with a minimum reading of 70 and a maximum of 263. Participant s completed as much as 15 years and as l ittle as 7 years of school, with the mean number of years completed being approximately 11.97. Approximately 4 2.3% of the participants had personal income s of $ 1 0,000 or less, while for total household income 30.8 % of the participants had an income of $ 1 0,000 or less. Over half of the sample (61.5%) participated in some form of diabetes education classes, while 38.5% had no formal classes.

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166 For this concurrent embedded design, the analyzed data provided information t o answer the general question of what additional information was obtained during the correlation study from the qualitative data. Unlike the triangulation embedded design which merges data from different data sets to answer a similar research question, thi s aim of the concurrent embedded design was to answer different research questions and bring the data together in a discussion as a part of the analysis, and the supportive qualitative data set either reinforces or refutes the results of the primary quanti tative data set (Creswell & Clark, 2007). values, motivations, and goals, which has been shown to be more effective in addressing barriers to improving self care activities (Heisler et al., 2005). For this study, the qualitative component augmented the quantitative data in an effort to better understand key areas that the population of interest needed to address regarding their diabetes self care The quantitative findings m easured knowledge and self care activities cross sectionally, while the qualitative study spanned the years of the li v e s with diabetes and subsequently provided substantial information not obtained from the survey data. Regarding the findings of th e quantitative study, interpreting them has to be done with caution as the qualitative findings shed light on possibilities that accounted or refuted the quantitative finding. It was hypothesized in the correlational study that the women in the study woul d have no higher than an average level of knowledge about diabetes; that their knowledge scores would have no association to with (a) income, (b) years of education, (c) length of time with T2DM or (d) glycemic control ; and that there were no associations between

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167 knowledge of diabetes and their self care activities. Generally, in the descriptive study, these African examined as they related to managing their diabetes and their perceptions about di abetes and its meaning. I n general t he f indings from this study present mixed results. A few hypotheses were partially supported with statistically significant findings and aligned with previously reported research results. The major findings were summari zed briefly with a subsequent discussion of the implications. Using Rothman and colleagues fell in the high knowledge category since 55.8% of the participants scored above 50. It was anticipated that res pondents would have no higher than an average knowledge of diabetes, but in this study respondents had a higher than the average level of knowledge about diabetes. The findings confirm the null hypothesis that there were no associations between SKILLD scor es and the following: personal and household incomes; length of time with diabetes; and glycemic control of diabetes. Further, there were no statistically significant differences in SKILLD score s and glycemic control between the two groups. In addition, th ere were knowledge of diabetes and their self care activities as they general diet (following a healthful eating plan within the last 7 days and month); (b) exercise (negative r ); (c) blood sugar testing (positive rho); and (d) smoking status. These inconsistent findings were explained and supported by the qualitative data. However, other findings refuted the null hypothesis because there wa s a positive significant correlation (r ho = 0. 24) between SKILLD scores and the year s of education.

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168 Hence, participants with more years of education were more likely to have better knowledge about diabetes. Further, the null hypothesis was also rejected for other activities because there was a n association found between knowledge scores and both specific diet and foot care. Specific diet was having eaten within the last seven days amounts greater than or equal to five servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods such as red meat or full f at dairy products SKILLD scores and SDSCA specific diet were positively correlated (r = 0. 28) and statistical ly significan t There were wide ranging diabetes experiences expressed by the African American women in this study. Research questions 4 and 5 we re answered interchangeably under the following three section divisions: A Portrait of the African American Diabetic Woman, Dealing with T2DM, and Managing T2DM, which represented the general themes of the African experi ence s and perceptions fell into two distinct categories and were affected by a number of consistent and unique identified factors influencing both categories. F ive major themes were identified that influenced how the women dealt with their diagnosis. Thes e clustered around (1) perceived long term consequences; (2) past experiences; (3) seminal events; (4) level of awareness or understanding or misunderstanding; and (5) support. Once participant s acknowledged the importance of self care they were typically proactive in the management of their care. There were, however, times when they did not manage or were inactive regarding their care. the diabetes self care journey f or these women. Despite their desire to care for their diabetes, this journey was not always easy and difficulties that arose impacted their self

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169 care behaviors including such treatment concerns as medication issues and concerns about their providers an d lifestyle changes, which included self management personal barriers, and inadequate resources. There were also influential factors that helped many of these women manage their diabetes. These were referred to as facilitators, which were categorized as adaptive strategies ( coping skills ) These included improved awareness or thinking, various supports, role of past experiences, spiritual or religious beliefs, and adapting new strategies for care. In essence, measuring these secti onally and obtaining the result s although it may show higher knowledge levels, did not capture the reality for the women when they initially found out they had diabetes and the process it took for o the present regarding knowledge of and action for self care The qualitative findings also indicated that almost all these women initially had low knowledge when they received their diagnosis years prior. Years of experience and increased knowledge about diabetes allowed them to get to the position s they were at now regarding having more knowledge about diabetes self care (as was indicated from the findings) and the actual care that they current ly employed day to day. The discussion section addressed the study findings in the context of the model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness. The sections of the discussion were framed according to each of the categories in the theoretical framework and for each; implications and suggestions for future research were presented followed by methodological issues and limitations. The model for understanding the crisis of a

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170 physical illness was useful for this study because it appropriately explained the relationship between some of the variables used in thi s study as they are associated with outcomes in the literature, and that were anticipated for this study as well. Suggestions for modification were highlighted and areas not addressed in this study were also noted regarding the need for future research to ad dress and examine these areas. The study design facilitated the different applications to various parts of the conceptual framework (the model of understanding the crisis of a physical illness) to be examined. Further, collecting the qualitative data pr ovided support for the primary data and delved into various perceptions, skills, and experiences that impact ed the framework and identified various areas of the model that need to be examined further. Hence, the qualitative study provided possible explanat ions to account for quantitative findings that refuted the null in the current study or were inconsistent with previous research. For example, the importance of length of time with T2DM not having any association in the quantitative study, proved invaluab le to the qualitative findings. The study findings also provided rich pilot information for the areas that need to be further explored. The continuous flow from precursors to skills and experiences to outcomes as suggested by Moos (1982) was not observed i n these findings; rather this study noted a loop back pattern and various factors that are thought to play a role later down the process flow seem ed to emerge earlier in these instances Hence, it was not static, particularly when accounting for the dyna mic lives of these women with diabetes which illuminate the fact that components do not always flow in one specific order.

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171 D espite their initial reactions of denial or avoidance to diabetes care, m any of the women realized the folly of their inactivity aft er a lifetime of consequences due to lack of self care For example, initially some participants refused to take medication due to misconceptions and used folk medicine such as aloe vera as an alternative. Other women strongly expressed their frustration s with treatment, since they felt they were not getting the care they needed from their provider because they felt stereotyped as practitioner. Religious beliefs and previous illnesses and experiences highlighted from the qualitative findings help illustrate the multidimensional construct of health, specifically as it related in this study to African American women with T2DM. Inadequate resources (such as financial co nstraints), competing priorities (such as caring for their grandchildren), and lack of flexibility in treatment were also listed as possible impediments to sustained self care practices were also cited Hence, these women need more access to diabetes educa tion resources to act as constant reminders of their ongoing diabetes self care efforts. It is clear that the education classes and provider advice work ed once individuals were ready to accept their condition. However, more consistent efforts to sustain l ong term knowledge and self care activities were also discussed, especially in light of the results that showed that many women had f orgot ten the information previously taught to them in diabetes classes. The role of health educators to advocate to become more creative, particularly as patient advocates, and to better reach these women at the key juncture in their life when they were first diagnosed were also noted. As a public health initiative, filling the system gaps that would help African American wome n, within their

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172 community, to get this consistent flexible care throughout their lifespan with diabetes is an imperative. Various limitations of the study pertained specifically to recruitment including the methods used (snowball sampling ), lack of finan cial incentive s for the target population, inability to repeat sample due to attrition issues, and small sample size. In addition, various methodological issues arose particularly due to recruitment. Some participants who may have been considered important for a follow up interview were not available to do so. Participants were also more concerned about having someone to speak to about their diabetes and the concerns they had than they were interested in measuring their knowledge. There was a need to revisi t IRB to expand the study criteria. The location for interviews was not always ideal due to competing factors. Further, interviewees at times were particularly interested in talking about diabetes and obtaining resources for care. Ultimately, the women are the glue that determine d how securely they were committed to their self care practices so in an effort to improve their individual lives and reduce the societal burden, more prevention efforts need to tap into as many aspects of the lives to he lp ensure that they have reminders to do self care, interspersed throughout the community that actually encourage and foster sustained change regarding their diabetes self care practices. The following chapter summarizes the entire document, and presents various conclusions, implications and recommendations.

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173 Table 4 1. Demographic characteristics of participants How old are you? How long have you known that you have T2DM? What was your blood sugar the last time they took blood from your arm? How many years of school did you complete? N Valid 52 52 44 52 Missing 0 0 8 0 Mean 55.0192 9.3846 135.8864 11.9712 Median 56.0000 5.0000 128.5000 12.0000 Mode 59.00 5.00 130.00 12.00 Minimum 40.00 1.00 70.00 7.00 Maximum 64.00 32.00 263.00 15.00 T able 4 2. Personal yearly income Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid $10,000 or less 22 42.3 42.3 42.3 >$10,000 but <=$20,000 13 25.0 25.0 67.3 >$20,000 but <=$30,000 13 25.0 25.0 92.3 >$30,000 4 7.7 7.7 100.0 Total 52 100.0 100.0

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174 Table 4 3. Total household yearly income Frequency % Valid % Cumulative % Valid $0.00 1 1.9 1.9 1.9 $10,000 or less 16 30.8 30.8 32.7 >$10,000 but < = $20,000 13 25.0 25.0 57.7 >$20.000 but < = $30,000 15 28.8 28.8 86.5 >$30,000 7 13.5 13.5 100.0 Total 52 100.0 100.0 Table 4 Frequency % Valid % Cumulative % Valid Alachua 45 86.5 86.5 86.5 Levy 6 11.5 11.5 98.1 Putnam 1 1.9 1.9 100.0 Total 52 100.0 100.0 Table 4 5. Sources of information for diabetes treatment Frequency % Valid % Cumulative % Valid Classes 28 53.8 53.8 53.8 Doctor 4 7.7 7.7 61.5 None 20 38.5 38.5 100.0 Total 52 100.0 100.0

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175 Table 4 6. Descriptive statistics for total SKILLD score N Min. Max. Mean Median Mode SD Range Total SKILLD score 52 0.00 100.00 57.31 60 70 17.50 80 Table 4 7. Frequency for total SKILLD scores Frequency % Valid % Cumulative % Valid 20.00 3 5.8 5.8 5.8 30.00 3 5.8 5.8 11.5 40.00 5 9.6 9.6 21.2 50.00 12 23.1 23.1 44.2 60.00 9 17.3 17.3 61.5 70.00 13 25.0 25.0 86.5 80.00 6 11.5 11.5 98.1 100.0 0 1 1.9 1.9 100.0 Total 52 100.0 100.0

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176 Table 4 8. K S Z for income, years of school, length of time with diabetes, blood sugar reading, total SKILLD score What is your income each year? What i s your total household income? How many yea rs of school complete d ? How long have you known that you have T2DM ? What was your blood sugar the last time they took blood from your arm? Total SKILLD score N 52 52 52 52 44 52 Normal Parameters a,b Mean 1.98 2.21 11.97 9.38 135.88 57.31 SD 0 .99 1. 09 1.66 8.23 40.98 17.50 Most Extreme Differences Absolute 0 .260 0 .194 0 .295 0 .222 0 .184 0 .150 Positive 0 .260 0 .194 0 .243 0 .222 0 .184 0 .104 Negative 0 .173 0 .188 0 .295 0 .154 0 .097 0 .150 K S Z 1.87 1.4 2.130 1.601 1.220 1.09 Asymp. Sig. (2 tailed) 0 .00 0 .04 0 .00 0 .01 0 .10 0 .190 a Test distribution is normal b Calculated from data

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177 T able 4 9. Correlations between SKILLD score and incomes (personal and total household) TOTAL SKILLD SCORE What is your income each year? What is your tota l household income? Spearman's rho TOTAL SKILLD SCORE Correlation Coefficient 1.000 Sig. (2 tailed) N 52 What is your income year? Correlation Coefficient .24 1.000 Sig. (2 tailed) .093 N 52 52 What is your total household i ncome? Correlation Coefficient .21 .844 ** 1.000 Sig. (2 tailed) .14 .000 N 52 52 52 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed). Table 4 10. Correlation for total SKILLD score and years of education completed TOTAL SKILLD SC ORE How many years of school did you complete? Spearman's rho TOTAL SKILLD SCORE Correlation Coefficient 1.000 .24 Sig. (2 tailed) .088 N 52 52 ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed).

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178 Table 4 11. Correlation for total SKIL LD score and length of time with diabetes How long have you (been diagnosed) or known that you have T2DM ? Spearman's rho TOTAL SKILLD SCORE Correlation Coefficient .11 Sig. (2 tailed) .44 N 52 Table 4 12. Correlations for total SKILLD score and blood sugar reading What was your blood sugar the last time they took blood from your arm? T otal SKILLD score Pearson c orrelation 0 .166 Sig. (2 tailed) 0 .282 N 44 Table 4 13. Descriptive Statistics for p articipants t otal SKILLD score and g lycemic c ontrol Outcome of g lycemic control N Mean SD Std. Error Mean T otal SKILLD score Good 16 55.00 18.98 4.74 Not good 28 60.00 17.43 3.29

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179 Table 4 14. Independent sample test for glycemic c ontrol Levene's test for equality of v ariances t tes t for equality of m eans 95% confidence i nte rval of the d ifference F Sig. t df Sig. (2 tailed) Mean d iff Std. error d iff Lower Upper T otal SKILLD score Equal variances assumed 0 398 0 .532 0 .8 9 42 0 .380 5.00 5.64 16.38 6.38 Equal variances not assumed 0 .87 29.18 0 .39 5.0 5.8 16.8 6.8

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180 Tabl e 4 15. K S Z Scores for SDSCA general diet, specific diet, exercise, blood sugar testing and foot c are O n how many of the past 7 days and month did you follow a healthful eating plan? O n how many of the last 7 days did you eat > 5 servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods such as red meat or full fat diary products? O n how many of the last 7 days did you partici pate in at least 30 minutes of ph ysical activity? And did you participate in a specific exercise session other than what you do around the house or as part of your work? On how many of the last seven days did you test your blood sugar? And the amount of times suggested by your provider On how many days of the last seven days did you check your feet? And did you inspect the inside of your shoes? N 52 52 52 52 52 Normal p arameters a b Mean 3.83 5.00 2.56 4.15 4.12 SD 2.43 1.71 2.21 2.73 2.58 Most extreme d ifferences Absolute 0 .12 0 .17 0 .15 0 .24 0 .20 Positive 0 .096 0 .12 0 .15 0 .15 0 .13 Negative 0 .1 2 0 .17 0 .12 0 24 0 .19 K S Z 0 .83 1.25 1.09 1.70 1.41 Asymp. Sig. (2 tailed) 0 .49 0 .09 0 .19 0 .01 0 .04 a Test distribution is normal. b Calculated from data. Ta ble 4 16. Correla t ions for Total SKILLD score and SDSCA general diet On h ow many of the past 7 days and month did you follow a healthful eating plan? T otal SKILLD score Pearson c orrelation 0 .003 Sig. (2 tailed) 0 .985 N 52

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181 Table 4 17. Correlations for total SKILLD score and specific diet On h ow many of the last 7 days did you eat >5 servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods such as red meat or full fat diary products? T otal SKILLD score Pearson c orrelation 0 .282 Sig. (2 tailed) 0 .043 N 52 *Correla tion is significant at the 0.05 level (2 tailed). Table 4 18. Correlations for total SKILLD scores and SDSCA exercise Mean for questions: On h ow many of the last 7 days did you participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity? And did you partic ipate in a specific exercise session other than what you do around the house or as part of your work? T otal SKILLD score Pearson c orrelation 0 .069 Sig. (2 tailed) 0 .625 N 52 Table 4 19. Correl ations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA blood sugar te sting Mean score for questions: On how many of the last seven days did you test your blood sugar? And the number of times suggested by your provider? Spearman's rho T otal SKILLD score Correlation c oefficient .092 Sig. (2 tailed) .518 N 52

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182 Tab le 4 20. Correlations for total SKILLD score and SDSCA foot care Mean score for questions: On how many days of the last seven did you check your feet? And did you inspect the inside of your shoes? Spearman's rho Total SKILLD score Correlation c oefficie nt 0 .396 ** Sig. (2 tailed) 0 .004 N 52 **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed). Table 4 21. Descriptive statistics for cigarette smokers Have you smoked even one puff during the past 7 days? N Mean SD Std. error m ean Total SKILL D score Yes s moker 7 55.71 16.18347 6.11678 No n on s moker 45 57.56 17.85746 2.66203 Table 4 22. Independent samples test total SKILLD score and smokers and non smokers Levene's test for equality of v ariances t test for equality of m eans 95% c o n fidence interval of the d ifference F Sig. t Df Sig. (2 tailed) Mean d ifference Std. error d ifference Lower Upper Total SKILLD score Equal variances assumed 0 .038 0 .85 0 .26 50 0 .799 1.84 7.18 16.26 12.58 Equal variances not assum ed 0 .28 8.45 0 .789 1.84 6.67 17.08 13.40

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183 CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS Summary In the US, c hronic diseases account for approximately 75 percent of the more than $2 + trillion health care expenditure (C DC, 2009). Diabetes Mellitus, specifically is one of the chronic conditions that is a lead ing cause of disability and death (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2005). In 2005, a pproximately 180 million people worldwide had d iabetes and 1.1 million died from this condition (WHO, 2006). In the US, 23.6 million people or 7.8 percent of the American population has diabetes, of which 17.9 million people know they have diabetes, and 5.7 million people go u ndiagnosed ( National Ins titute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2008). In addition, almost half of diabetes deaths occur in people under 70 years. It is evident that the disease burden of diabetes is great. This chapter presents the summary, recommendations and c on clusions of the study The chance of having T2DM are increased with (1) having a family history of diabetes, (2) being a member of an ethnic group such as African American or Native American (3) being overweight or obese, (4) having had diabetes while pr egnant (gestational diabetes), (5) having high blood pressure, (6) having abnormal cholesterol (lipid) levels, and (7) having limited physical activity (FDH, 2005). Furthermore, of the 15.7 million people with diabetes in 2002, more than 8.1 million of the m were women (CDC, 2002). As the population ages and obesity becomes more prevalent, the need for diabetes education and self care is urgent (Lewis, 2007). As in the rest of the US, t he prevalence of diabetes among adults in Florida has also continued to i ncrease,

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184 particularly among obese individuals Of them, the incidence of diabetes is 44.6%, more than twice the rate of those who are not obese (FDH, 2005). In order to achieve goals in diabetes care for specific minority groups particularly susceptible t o this disease, a greater understanding is needed of the experiences of those affected by diabetes and their level of knowledge of managing their condition. A major call to action is that researchers, practitioners, and individuals need to collectively ide ntify their role s in ensuring that individuals with diabetes receive appropriate and adequate patient education, particularly for self management skills to adequately control the condition, as well as prevent adverse health outcomes. However, a critical mi ssing link to developing interventions at multiple points in the lives of African American women with diabetes is meeting frequently with them when they are in the initial process of dealing with and managing their diagnosis. T his study used two methods, q uant it ative correlationa l and qualit ative descriptive design, to explore self care knowledge and experiences regarding diabetes care among African American women with T2DM The specific aims of the study were (1) to assess knowledge about diabetic African care; (2) to explore the associations between African knowledge of diabetes self care and (a) income level, (b) years of education, ( c ) length of time with diabetes, ( d ) level of glycemic control, and ( e ) the ir self care activities; and (3) to explore the experiences of African American women in managing their diabetes, as well as their understanding of diabetes. The f ive research questions proposed in this study are as follows:

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185 Quantitative 1) What knowledge level do African American women with diabetes have about their diabetes? 2) Wa s African American self care associated with income, year of education, length of time with diabetes, and glycemic control? Null Hypot hes i s H01 Respondent no associations to a) income, b) years of education, c) length of time with diabetes, and d) glycemic control. 3) What were the associations between African American s of knowledge for diabetes self c are and their self care activities? Null Hypothesis H02. There were no associations between respondent level s of knowledge for diabetes self care and their self care activities. Qualitative 4) What we re African American abetes? What adaptive tasks and coping skills did they use? 5) How d id African American women perceive their diabetes? What did diabetes mean to them? Informed consent was secured prior to interviewing the women Four instruments were used in this study inc luding a survey to collect biographic and demographic information; the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literacy Diabetes Scale (SKILLD) to measure diabetes knowledge of self care; the Summary of Diabetes Self Care Activities (SDSCA) instrument to determine current self care activities or behaviors; and the interview guide used to explore life experiences, knowledge, and understanding of diabetes and how women with diabetes manage their chronic illness. The data were collected from June 2009 to June 2010.

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186 Fifty two participants met the study criteria. The statistical power showed favorable result s The mean age for the sample was 55 with a range of 40 64. The m ajorities of participants were from Alachua County (86.5%) and had had diabetes for an average of 9 years, the longest being 32 years. The mean for those who disclosed their blood sugar reading was approximately 136. The mean number of years of school completed was 11.97. Approximately 42.3 percent of the participants had an income of $10,000 or less and 67.3 percent reported making $20,000 or less. When asked about total household income, 32.7 percent of the participants had income s of $10,000 or less and 57.7 percent reported making $20,000 or less n early two thirds (61.5%) had participated in some form of di abetes education classes, while 38.5 % had had no formal classes. The results revealed mixed findings. Some proposed hypotheses were partially supported by statistically significant findings and corroborated previously reported findings. Other findings we re different from previously reported findings in the literature. It was anticipated that respondents would have no higher than an average knowledge of diabetes, but respondents in this study ha d higher than the average level s of knowledge about diabetes. Despite positive and negative correlations identified, they did not reach statistical significance. The findings revealed that there were no significant associations between SKILLD and personal and household incomes length of time with diabetes and succ essful glycemic control. In addition, regarding their glycemic control, there were no statistically significant differences in SKILLD score between the two groups (those who managed their glucose well and those who did not).

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187 The results also revealed that there was a significant positive correlation (rho = 0 .24) between SKILLD and year s of education. It appears that participants with more years of education were more likely to have better knowledge about diabetes. However, there were no significant associa knowledge of diabetes self care and their self care activities as those general diet (following a healthful eating plan within the last 7 days and month); (b) exercise (negative r); (c) b lood sugar testing (positive rho); and (d) smoking status. Associations were also found between knowledge scores and (a) specific diet and (b) foot care. Specific diet referred to having eaten, within the last 7 days, servings equal to or greater than five servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods such as fried food, red meat or pork, or full fat dairy products SKILLD and SDSCA specific diet were positively correlated (r = 0 .28) with statistical significance. The results showed that participants w ho tend ed to engage in eating more fruits and vegetables and less high fat foods within the week prior to questioning had more knowledge about diabetes than their counterparts. In addition, SKILLD and SDSCA foot care were also positively correlated (rho = 0 .40) and was significant. These women had wide ranging diabetes experiences. They also perceived the cause of their diabetes as being due to genetics/hereditary, being overweight, having bad habits concerning eating and exercising and having two or more physical co morbidities such as h igh blood pressure high c holesterol, and stress, as well as issues with treatment. Not practicing preventative measures and poverty were also indicated by them as possible causes of diabetes.

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188 The majority of the participa nts, when they were first diagnosed, perceived diabetes to mean a type of illness and the majority of women reacted with denial and avoidance with a few exceptions for those who accepted their condition from the very beginning. The reactio ns to their diagnosis of diabetes that each woman went through were identified as denial, avoidance, or acceptance, Those who initially denied, avoided, or disregarded their condition found that diabetes caused serious consequences in their lives in the fo rm of a crisis, usually a serious illness that showed their choices to adapt were in ways that either helped or were further hurt by their disease. acceptance and the highs and lows associa ted with diabetes self care. In sum half the participants initially accepted their diagnos e s and were proactive in their self care Surmounting various barriers to self care through education and experience, over time their initial fears were assuaged and their beliefs modified, particularly with regard to properly self managed, they could live a long life with diabetes. Five major themes were identified that influenced ho w the women dealt with their diagnoses. These themes clustered around (1) perceived long term consequences; (2) past experiences; (3) seminal events; (4) level of awareness or understanding or misunderstanding; and (5) support. Typically, once participants acknowledged the importance of self care, they were proactive in the management of their care. There were, however, some who did highs and lows of the diabetes self manag ement journey for some of these women on a

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189 daily basis. D ifficulties arose that influenced their self care behaviors due to treatment concerns such as medication issues, concerns about their health care practitioners, and necessary lifestyle changes, as we ll as self management, personal barriers, and inadequate resources. Influential factors that helped these women manage their diabetes are referred to as facilitators, which are adaptive strategies and coping skills. These included improved awareness or th inking, various supports, role of past experiences, spiritual or religious knowledge cross sectionally and obtaining the result, although it may show higher knowledge levels, did not capture the reality of the women when they initially found out advice, to get to the point they are now at regarding s ome knowledge and motivation for self care. Th e qualitative findings also indicated that women who had received their diagnoses years before initially had low knowledge but years of experience and increased knowledge about diabetes allowed them to get to the position they were at today, regarding havi ng more knowledge about diabetes self care (as indicated by the findings) and the actual care that they currently employ. The discussion section addressed the study findings in the context of the model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness. Th e sections of the discussion were framed according to each of the categories in the theoretical framework and for each section, implications and suggestions for future research were presented followed by methodological issues and limitations. The model for understanding the crisis of a physical illness was useful to this study because it appropriately explained the

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190 relationship between some of the variables used in this study as they are correlated or not with outcomes in the literature. Suggestions for mod ification were highlighted and areas not addressed in this study were also noted regarding the need for future research to address and examine these areas. The study design facilitated the different applications to various parts of the conceptual framewo rk (the model of understanding the crisis of a physical illness) to be examined. Further, collecting the qualitative data provided support for the primary data and delved into various perceptions, skills, and experiences that impact the framework and ident ified various areas of the model that need to be examined further. Hence, the qualitative study was able to provide possible explanations to account for findings that refuted the null hypothesis in the current study or were inconsistent with previous resea rch. For example, the importance of length of time with diabetes was irrelevant to the quantitative study, but proved invaluable to the qualitative findings. The study findings also provided rich pilot information for the areas that need to be further expl ored. The continuous flow from precursors to skills and experiences to outcomes as suggested by Moos (1982) was not observed in these findings; rather, it was a loop back, and various factors that were anticipated to play a role later on in the process see med to emerge earlier. Hence, it is a process that is not static or even necessarily chronological, particularly when accounting for the dynamic lives of women with diabetes, illuminating a process that does not always flow in one specific order or directi on. Many of the women, despite their initial post diagnosis reactions of denial or avoidance of diabetic self care, eventually experienced negative consequences.

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191 Valuable insight was gained from the qualitative findings regarding how individuals may extend self care from monitoring symptoms in general to foot care, specifically based on past negative experiences. However, for some neither past experiences nor prior learning help ed the m engage in positive self care behaviors. Though the women had high knowle dge about diabetes in general, they were unable to engage in preventive behaviors for a variety of reasons. For example, the women expressed such physical constraints as not having the energy or having other issues such as knee problem s or foot or chronic pain that precluded necessary exercise s, which was identified from the qualitative findings. On the positive side, f amily support coupled with diabetic education may also help to chang e lifestyle. The study findings also highlighted that it is important to identify and further self care Individuals have different adaptive processes and so health educators have to better identify individuals adaptive processes to better target interven tion s in an individualized way in clinical settings. It is clear that the education classes and health care advice provide d by practitioners work once individuals are ready to accept their condition. However, more consistent efforts to sustain long term kn owledge and self care activities were also discussed, especially in light of the results that showed that many women f orgot the information previously taught to them in diabetes classes. The role of health educators to be more creative and to better reach out to these women at th is key juncture in their lives when they are first diagnosed were also noted. As a public health initiative, it is

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192 imperative to fill the system gaps thus help ing diabetic African American women to get consistent flexible care wit hin their community throughout their lifespan with diabetes. Various limitations specifically related to recruitment of participants should be noted when interpreting the results. For example, the methods used (snowball), lack of financial incentive for t he target population, inability to sample due to attrition issues, and small sample size were issues that could be improved in future study. Though the final 52 participants were adequate for this study, the findings from the survey were informative for a particular subset of the community (who provide only one perspective) and the small sample size may allow recommendations to be made for only a limited subset of the population. Because the study primarily identified associations, they should be interprete d with caution and should not be applied to predict ing behavior. Conclusions The results from the study justified the following conclusions: 1. More African American women in this study had a higher degree of knowledge diabetes than expected. Furthermore, th ey had a higher average rate of knowledge of diabetes as measured by the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literate Diabetes Scale (SKILLD), stratification rationale. It was also observed that the participants perceived thei r initial knowledge of diabetes to be low when they were first diagnosed and, though they had gained knowledge since, they still indicated having more to learn regarding diabetes and their self care. 2. There were no significant correlations identified betwee n African American time with diabetes; and glycemic control. Further, between the two groups of African American women those who controlled their blood sugar effectively, and those w ho did not, there was no significant difference in their knowledge levels

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193 3. African American knowledge of diabetes was associated with number of years of education completed. Specifically, there was a positive significant relationship between their knowledge of diabetes and their year s of education. 4. There was no significant relationship between African American knowledge of diabetes and their self care activities as they related to (a) their general diet (following a healthful eati ng plan within the last 7 days and month); (b) their exercise (negative r); (c) their blood sugar testing (positive rho); and (d) their smoking status. 5. There was a significant association found between African American knowledge of diabetes and th eir self care activities as it related to (a) their specific diet and (b) their foot care. Specific diet referred to as having eaten, within the last seven days, greater than or equal to five servings of fruits or vegetables or high fat foods Foot care re ferred to the number of days, within the last seven days they check their feet or inspected the inside of their shoes. By using preventive health care measures such as foot care, African American self care efforts were supported. 6. African American women had wide ranging diabetes experiences and perceived the cause of their diabetes as being due to genetics/hereditary, being overweight, having bad habits ( excessive and poor eating and too little exercis e ) or physical co morbidities includin g high blood pressure high cholesterol, and stress as well as issues with treatment. Not engaging in preventative health measures poor choices in life style, and poverty were also indicated to a lesser degree as possible contributing factors. It is impo rtant to eliminate possible fatalistic attitudes or help treat the depression that women may experience after lear n ing they have diabetes. 7. African American experience and perceptions organized around the themes of: d ealing with a diagnosis of T2DM and m anagement of T2DM Dealing with the diagnosis was divided into two sections: (1) reactions denying, avoiding, or accepting/recognizing and (2) influential factors perceived long

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194 term consequence, past experience, seminal events, level of awarenes s or understanding or misunderstanding, and support. While m anagement of T2DM fell into the categories of proactive and inactive and was divided into two sections: (1) d ifficulties treatment concerns, lifestyle changes, personal barriers and inadequate resources and (2) f acilitators improved awareness or thinking, various supports, role of past experiences, spiritual or religious beliefs, and adapting new strategies for care. 8. The life experience s of the African American women demonstrated potential in tervention points that could be targeted for each woman at different stages of life. Focusing on prevention is something the women in this study need to understand when they are d iagnosed with diabetes so that they can manage a slower progression of their diabetes and increase their quality of life. For instance, when they were first diagnosed, the misconceptions about diabetes led to ineffective self care because their initial reactions were avoidance and denial With professional counseling and an increas e in knowledge regarding diabetes, their self care activities can improve. Family support was a key sociocultural consideration s pecifically the role family played in promoting or hindering self care activities. In addition, experiences with loss of famil y members and friends to diabetes granted many a certain wisdom gained from experience, and they were eventually better for the experience despite periods of denying their condition or distancing themselves from self care Implications and Recommendation s for Future Research It is important to note that some of the implications below are similar to those reported in other studies (Rahim Williams, 2004; Pauvali, 1996) because they still have not been appropriately addressed or remedied within the health ca re system. 1. It is important for collaborative efforts between public h ealth, p sychology and h ealth education practitioners in clinical settings to better target the misconceptions and inadequate understanding of diabetes for African American women partic ularly when they are first diagnosed.

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195 2. In addition to diabetes education classes, support groups with health educators and peer support personnel should be available to help women process the information they obtained from the group and help them discuss a comparison between their prior knowledge and their new knowledge to form an effective knowledge base from which to engage in effective self care practices that are more aligned with clinical practice settings. 3. Health educators need to help ensure that the current education does not fall prey to: a) a l ack of understanding of individuals cultural mileu of food preparation and eating; b) a f ocus on a generic diabetes education care package and not individualizing care packages; c) a f ocus on imparting the s evere consequences regarding ignoring diabetes and avoid imparting knowledge regarding recognition of lesser symptoms 4. Ineffective self care can result in serious long term implications particularly as they relate bodily damage and cost because initial l imited self care for diabetes results in potentially high costs if better care is not incorporated by the patient in the early stages of diabet e s self care Therefore, health p olicy changes that promote prevention and, for those already diagnosed, health p romotion efforts supporting those with such chronic illnesses as diabetes cannot continue to be minimized and funding needs to be assigned in greater amounts. 5. Greater knowledge and effective self care behaviors are needed to, not only help the individual, but it also impact subsequent generations. I ndividuals with more knowledge are better able to help break the cycle of inactive self care and to be proactive and impart that knowledge to family and friends to also help them with their diabetes care. If the y pass on a legacy of bad eating habits and other lifestyle traits that are risk factors for diabetes, then the cycle that promotes increased rates of obesity and diabetes will continue to disproportionately affect these women. 6. Diabetes self care needs to be flexible, consistent and accessible. Patients need access to more diabetes education resources to act as constant reminders for

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196 their ongoing diabetes self care efforts. It is imperative a public health initiative needs to start filling the system gap s that would help African American wom e n, within their community to get this consistent flexible care throughout their life span s 7. Health educators play invaluable roles as: a) trainers of clinicians and other health care practitioners and (b) advocates for systemic changes. Health educators as trainers for physicians and other health care practitioners. a) They need to u nderstand the sociocultural lives of these women and how best to configure and consider treatment in the context of their lives; b) ind ividualize care because a one size fits all approach using diabetes education classes, though important, is not enough; c) focus on care of patient immediately after diagnosis as part of the care process and practitioners need to have sensitivit Health educators need to be advocates for systematic change They need to a dvocat e for clinical settings to have a multidisciplinary team to help tackle the problem of diabetes as it relates to self care practices for minority populations, particularly collaborating with psychologist to use assessments to help identify immediate concerns and issues that contribute to inadequate self management of diabetes. Further, health educators could do va rious assessments in clinical settings to help determine readiness to accept his or her condition teach skills to better teach self care skills and activities and to identify and advocate for the abolition of barriers to sound care. Health ed ucators as advocates for patients. In addition to more diabetes classes, assessments affiliated with these classes need to be implemented to not only gauge individual readiness to learn but also readiness to accept the diagnosis to better

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197 target possible intervention points for health educators. Health educators need to be advocates for policy change to help influence policy makers to prevent delaying prevention and health promotion efforts that may result in increased physical and financial cost for the individual and increased cost s to society in general. Health educators as advocates for systematic changes and in creased disease management focus. A p revention advocate specialist need s to be created within the already established disease management arena where the job is to help newly diagnosed patients engage in effective self care practices to ward off severe consequences that many women in this study ultimately faced due to their initial resistance to self care practices. These prevention specialists wo uld be assigned to the newly diagnosed. Their role and responsibility would be to visit the home and help the diabetic adjust to care. Further, they would be there to help reduce fears and clear up misconceptions. Their role would also entail helping the w omen source medication and equipment and help them to adjust to their self care practices. In addition to case management functions, they could be rewarded by bonuses the longer their patients have long term beneficial outcomes due to prevention strategies that the health educator help ed the patient learn to do effectively. Increased insurance coverage. Rahim Williams (2004), who looked at African American women and diabetic self management suggested that accessible community based self management programs should be covered by insurance offered by private health care providers and public health programs, including community based organizations, service clubs, faith based institutions and health care programs with

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198 access to the target community. This study also embraces this view in an effort to better serve the target population studied. Recommendations for Future Research 1. Health educators need to play an increased role in clinical settings to help assess nd readiness to accept their condition and to learn about diabetes. For example, using the Diabetes Health Belief Model scale (DHBM, a scale based on an 11 question questionnaire on health beliefs that operationalizes the health belief model for individual s with diabetes (Powell et al., 2007), needs to be a tool that is used in the clinical setting more often when individuals are initially diagnosed with diabetes. Also, learn a bout their condition, but where they are in accepting and internalizing their diagnosis so that the well established and structured education classes do not go underutilized. 2. H ealth educators need to continue to be a key resource for diabetics and increas ingly ensure that literature for diabetics is written in an accessible but comprehensive manner. In addition to suggested meal plans for diabetics according to race, maybe meal plans specific to African Americans and their tastes and traditions in particul ar would be helpful. However, more studies need to be done to make the literature more specific to a particular group within a culture. 3. Provide opportunities to generalize the findings in this study by doing further studies that focus on: a) t he assessmen t of both clinicians care of African American women with diabetes and their view s of African American women with diabetes and how that impa cts future treatment encounters; b) the n eed to understand how people make their choices; and c) the n eed to identif y the role the transtheoretical model stages of change ( Prochaska, Redding, and Evers, 2002) may play in dealing with diabetes and the possible intervention points that need to be addressed in clinical settings.

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199 4. efficacy regarding how they view diabetes, and their locus of control to better target interventions in clinical settings 5. Future studies should explore the extent to which each of the coping skills and adaptive tasks within the context of the model for un derstanding the crisis of a physical illness were major contributors to self care. Thus far, the findings indicate that some are contributing factors, but future studies should try to tap into each of the adaptive tasks as defined by the model as key areas for intervention for these women to improve their self care behaviors. 6. It is important to consider diabetes as a continuum of crisis/disruption and ultimately target interventions to better address diabetes self care in the following two areas: dealing with the diagnosis and self management of diabetes to help A frican A merican women better adjust to and live with it Future research needs to examine the model, the crisis of a physical illness when considering the sociocultural and socioecological aspects of diabetes care and intervention to manage diabetes self care. Considering the model for the crisis of a physical illness for future research is also warranted as a possible framework to expand on the possible process of learning to self manage dia betes care. More needs to be done to examine how and to what extent the socioecologic ( L iburd, 2010) domains are all accounted for within the context of the crisis of a physical illness framework. Further, the significance to a person of the effect on different body parts, as suggested by moos (1982), was not explored in this study, but could be an area for future research to explore as it relates to suggesting, motivating, and implementing better h ealth care practices, particularly to help control diabetes.

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200 APPEND IX A DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIE W GUIDE 1. Do you have Type 2 Diabetes (As diagnosed by a doctor)? 2. What county are you a resident of in Florida? 3. How old are you? Or What year were you born? 4. How long have you (been diagnosed) or known that you have type 2 diabetes? 5. What is your blood sugar reading the last time they took blood from your arm? _______ 6. What is your income each year? 1. Less than 10, 000 per year 2. Greater than 10,000 less than 20,000 per year 3. Greater than 20,000 less than 30,000 per year 4. Greater than 30 ,000 per year 7. What is your total household income? 8. How many years of school did you complete? What was the last grade of school that you completed? 9. What types of diabetes treatment have you participated in? 10. What race best describes you? American Indian o r Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black other, Black African American, Hispanic. Exclusion criteria 11. Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness (anything that will not allow you to answer questions to the best of your knowledge for this s urvey)? 12. Are you Pregnant?

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201 APPENDIX B SPOKEN KNOWLEDGE IN LOW LITERACY DIABETES SCALE 1. What are the signs and symptoms of high blood sugar? How do you feel when your blood sugar is high or when you were diagnosed? Needs at least (2): Extreme thirst, frequ ent urination, drinking or eating, blurred vision, and/or drowsiness/fatigue 2. What are the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar? How do you feel when your blood sugar is too low? Needs at least (2): Hunger, nervous/jitteriness, mood swings/irritability, confusion, sweaty, or fast heart rate 3. How do you treat low blood sugar? What should you do if your sugar is too low? How can you bring your blood sugar Accept very general answer: Juice, milk, hard candy, 15 grams of carbohydrates A ND check blood sugar 4. How often should a person with diabetes check their feet? Once a day, once a week, or once a month? Accept : Daily 5. Why are foot exams important in someone with diabetes? Why is it important to look at your feet? What are you looki ng for? Accept very general answer: Prevention of morbidity due to neuropathic/immunologic consequences of diabetes 6. How often should you see an eye doctor and why is it important? How often? Why? Accept: Seen at least yearly AND screen/manage retinopa thy, glaucoma, blindness, etc 7. What is a normal fasting blood glucose or blood sugar? When you get up first thing in the morning and check your blood sugar before you eat or take medicine, what should it be? What two numbers? Accepted range: 70 (or 80 ) to 120

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202 8. When they draw blood from your arm and get an average blood sugar reading what should it be? Accept either: Normal <= 6% or Target <=7% 9. How many times per week should some one with diabetes exercise and for how long? How many times a week? How long or how much per day? Accept within: 3 5 times per week for a total of 30 45 min each (must include frequency and duration) 10. What are some long term complications of uncontrolled diabetes? Needs at least (2): Blindness/impaired vision, kidney damage/dialysis, amputation, neuropathy/ impotence/ gastroparesis, or cardiovasc ular disease.

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203 APPENDIX C SUMMARY OF DIABETES SELF CARE ACTIVITIES MEASURE Instructions: The questions below ask you about your diabetes self care activities during the past 7 days. If you were sick during the past 7 days, please think back to the last 7 d ays that you were not sick. Diet 1. How many of the last seven days have you followed a healthful eating plan? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 2. On average, over the past month, how many Days per week have you followed your eating plan? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 3. On how many of the last seven days did you eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 4. On how many of the last seven days did you eat high fat foods such as red meat or full fat diary products? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 Exercise 5. On how many of the last seven days did you participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity? (Total minutes of continuous activity, including walking). O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 6. On how many of the last seven days did you participate in a specific exercise session (such as swimming, walking, biking) other than what you do around the house or as part of your work? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 Bl ood Sugar Testing 7. On how many of the last seven days did you test your blood sugar? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7

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204 8. On how many of the last seven days did you test your blood sugar the number of times recommended by your health care provide r? Foot Care 9. On how many days of the last seven days did you check your feet? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 10. On how many days of the last seven days did you inspect the inside of your shoes? O 0 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 5 O 6 O 7 Smok ing 11. Have you smoked a cigarette even one puff during the past seven days? 0. No 1. Yes. If yes, how many cigarettes did you smoke on an average day? Number of cigarettes_____

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205 APPENDIX D QUALITATIVE INTERVIEW GUIDE 1. When you are describing your conditi on to others, how do you describe it or what do you call it? Probe: What does diabetes mean to you? 2. What do you think caused your diabetes? 3. Probe: Describe the experience when you learn that you had diabetes 4. How has i t (diabetes) affected your life? Probe: How does your body feel now that you have diabetes? 5. How do you take care of your illness? Probe: Describe how did you learnt about how to take care of your diabetes? 6. What do you do to take of your illness? Probe: Wh at helps you to take care of your diabetes? Probe: What makes it difficult or gets in the way for you do what you need to do to take care of your diabetes? Probe: What adaptive tasks and coping skills do you use to take care of your illness? 7. What would you tell others who just learned they have diabetes about the illness? Probe: What would be important to know about them in order for you to talk to them about their illness?

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206 APPENDIX E LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS Date: _______________ Time: ________________ Facil itator: _______ Audio Consent:_________ ___ Interview #: Informed Consent:_____________ Understanding Self Care Practices for African American Women with Type 2 Diabetes Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening [Interviewee Name]. My name is Gail Yo ung and I am a Graduate student at the University of Florida. The purpose of this survey is to identify for African American women, such as yourselves knowledge about diabetes self care and to explore your experiences with managing your diabetes as well as your understanding of diabetes. Your participation in this survey/interview is entirely voluntary and you will not be penalized in any way for refusing to respond to the survey. If you agree to participate in the survey/interview/focus group please be encouraged to answer all of the questions. If you prefer not to answer any question you find objectionable you may skip it and move on to the next, without any penalty. All information received from you will be confidential as explained to you or read by you in the informed consent. Please be as accurate and honest as possible in answering the questions. Gail Young will read and explain the form to you, and then you will be encouraged repeat to me your understanding of it or review the form yourself. Once you fully understand the form and if you are interested in participating in the study, then you will be asked to sign the form, before you begin the study. The questions that will be asked of you by Gail Young, should take approximately 20 30 minute s to complete. If you are chosen to do the Individual interview/focus group then at an agreed upon time and date, and the interview will last between 45 60 minutes. Before you begin this individual interview or focus group, you will be also asked to sign an audio consent form. This is a minimal risk study. No compensation is offered. THANK YOU for taking the time to participate in this study. For more information about the Study please contact Gail Young, (Department of Health Education and Behavior, P.O Box 118210, Gainesville, FL 32611; gaildale@ufl.edu) or William Chen,

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207 Department of Health Education and Behavior, P.O. Box 118210, Gainesville, FL 32611; wchen@hhp.ufl.edu), 352 392 0583 ext 1284. The information you provide will be extremely useful to the communities. For questions about your rights as a research participant, please contact the Institutional Review Board Office at 352 846 1494 or PO Box 100173, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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208 APPENDIX F LETTER TO POTENTIAL SITES FOR RECRUITMENT DATE Name A DDRESS Gainesville, FL Dear X (NAME /TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN) I would like to schedule a meeting with you in the near future to discuss your site as a possible place for recruiting participants for my dissertation research. I will be delighted to have t he opportunity to meet with you and look forward to sharing my research with you and your team. My name is Gail Young and I am a doctoral candidate in the department of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida. The focus of my research is to assess core knowledge about African Am erican women diabetes self care; explore the level of self care activities that these women engage in as well as identify their experiences managing diabetes and their understanding of diabetes. Low income, low literate African American women with Type 2 diabetes will be the targeted participants for my study. The project title is: Understanding Self Care Practices for African American Women with Type 2 Diabetes I write to inquire if you believe your populatio n would be willing to participate in this study. Specifically we would like the opportunity to put up flyers and recruit individuals from your facility. If a private room is available, it may be better to conduct my study at your facility if you invite us to do so If a room is not available, then if agreed, a secluded area on the compound will be requested and agreed upon. If this is not possible, another location such as a public library room will be used and an interview scheduled with the participan t. If you have any questions prior to our meeting please contact me at 305 785 5317 or 352 358 4122. Otherwise, I will contact you to schedule our meeting. I wish you continued success with your facility and I look forward to meeting with you in the near future. Best Wishes, Gail C. D. Young, Doctoral Candidate Department of Health Education and Behavior, Campus Address: PO Box 117330, Gainesville, FL 32611, 352 358 4122 or 352 392 0583 ext 1409 gcdyoung@gmail .com or gaildale@ufl.edu

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209 APPENDIX G FLYER USED TO RECRUIT PARTICIPANTS WE NEED YOUR HELP WE NEED YOUR HELP JOIN A STUDY THAT WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT YOU AND HOW YOU CARE FOR YOUR DIABETES If you are: 1. An African American Woman 2. Between 40 64 years old with Type 2 diabetes 3. If you have at most a 2 year college degree but less than a 4 year college degree PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN AN INTERVIEW AND/OR FOCUS GROUP To learn more about the study please contact: Gail Young, MA, PhDc UF, Co llege of Health and Human Performance 352 358 4122 or 305 785 5317 COME JOIN THIS STUDY

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221 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Gail was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies In 1995, s he came to the United States where she completed a dual degree, B achelor of S cience in p sycholog y and B achelor of A rts in Spanish from Howard University in Washington, DC, with honors and received various academic and athletic scholarships. As an undergraduate she received the A r th u r Ashe Jr. A ward for outstanding a cademic and a thletic a chievement for 1997 1999 In summer 1997, Gail received the Lucey E. Moten International R elations F ellowship to study abroad in Spain at the University of Salamanca. After graduating, she moved to New York completing a m as ter s in psychology at Columbia University Teachers College. She moved to the D C area to work as a s ubstance a buse counselor at Alcohol and Drug S ervices Fairfax County, Virginia. She later worked as a research assistant at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, and as a Social Services Couns elor for the State of Florida Department of Corrections in Miami. In 2004 she attended the University of Florida Department of Health Education and Behavior. There she worked as a teaching assistant and a research assistant for the Medicaid Reform Evaluat ion project, as well as the Project Coordinator/Research Assistant at the Rehabilitations Outcomes Research Center of Excellence. She graduated with her Doctor of Philosophy in Health Behavior in 2010. diabet and Terafi Young since 2005 and has a beautiful daughter Saree Young. Her family includes her won derful parents and in laws, her three loving brothers and sisters in law, and many aunts, uncles, cousins and loving and supportive friends and church family.