Exploring diabetes management with West-African immigrants living in the UK: a constructivist grounded theory study.

Authors: Alloh, F.

Conference: Bournemouth University, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences


Background: Diabetes has become a global burden with Type 2 diabetes accounting for most of the burden of diabetes. Immigrant populations, especially African immigrants, are faced with a double burden of the condition, due to the high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and the poorer management outcomes among this population. Although studies have explored Type 2 diabetes management among ethnic minority groups, there is a lack of research in the area of West African immigrants living with Type 2 diabetes. As a result, there is a need to explore the management process and experiences of these individuals living in Western countries. This study aims to contribute to addressing the gap in the literature by highlighting issues that are specific to this group.

Methods: A qualitative approach was used to explore the experiences of thirty-four West African individuals living with diabetes in boroughs of the London area. A constructivist grounded theory approach was adopted to construct the meaning of managing Type 2 diabetes to these individuals. Participants were recruited through Type 2 diabetes support groups and within the community using purposive and snowball sampling techniques.

Findings: A substantive theory of normality: adapting to the new in managing Type 2 diabetes among West African immigrants emerged. Three major categories striving to adapt’, ‘finding out’ and ‘living with it’ from experiences of living with Type 2 diabetes were developed. These major categories influence their framing of normality in the process of Type 2 diabetes management in the UK. Cultural beliefs and practices stand out as important aspects of managing Type 2 diabetes among this population in the UK. It is important that previous experiences of living in West Africa should not be separated from their current management of Type 2 diabetes in the UK.

Conclusion: The findings highlight the importance of centring the management of Type 2 diabetes on the cultural influences on lifestyle choices of these individuals as evidenced by their adapted strategies to living with diabetes in the UK. Understanding normality for these individuals and how to support them in improving their Type 2 diabetes management is an important aspect for healthcare professionals to incorporate in management regime recommendations.


Source: Manual

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