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Cultural Perspectives on Diabetes in an Appalachian Population

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Objective: To gain an understanding of cultural and socioeconomic forces that shape beliefs about diabetes and its self-management. Methods: Thirteen focus groups were conducted in community settings in West Virginia using a semistructured interview guide. Results: Diabetes is perceived as a relatively new disease. Self-management behaviors reflect a mixture of cultural beliefs and limited resources. Moral overtones stigmatize diabetes. Conclusions: Understanding patients' illness experiences from within their cultural framework is important for successful community programming regarding chronic disease management.
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Keywords: Appalachia; culture; diabetes; rural; self-management behaviors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 2: West Virginia University School of Nursing, Department of Health Promotion/Risk Reduction, Morgantown, WV

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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