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Diabetes Educ. 2010 Mar-Apr;36(2):318-25. doi: 10.1177/0145721709349219.

Perception of the impact of type 1 diabetes on low-income families.

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Sadiqa Edmonds-Myles, 3415 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.



The purpose of this study was to explore the psychosocial impact of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) on low-income families of various racial/ethnic backgrounds.


A qualitative study using qualitative descriptive methods was conducted with a total of 21 patient-parent dyads from African American, Hispanic, and white heritage, respectively. An interview guide was developed to explore each family's attitudes and beliefs related to diabetes.


Although all subjects were in excellent metabolic control (mean A1C levels were between 7.3% and 7.6%), there were a number of identifiable differences in the perception of the impact of T1DM among the 3 groups. Themes in the data demonstrated differences in the following areas: (1) view of diabetes and its effects on the family; (2) ability to successfully treat diabetes; (3) ability to cope with diabetes; and (4) experiences with the health care system. Most notable themes include a disparity across racial/ethnic groups in the preoccupation with the disease after diagnosis, cultural and financial factors identified, and differences in treatment modalities and reasons for their use.


Diabetes education and care need to carefully address such differences. Although these differences are likely multifactorial, with components of socioeconomic status, family structure, and family experiences involved, it is evident that ethnicity itself is an important factor that can affect the ability of families to manage and cope with diabetes.

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