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Health Beliefs of Marshallese Regarding Type 2 Diabetes

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Objectives: The Marshallese population suffers from disproportionate rates of type 2 diabetes. This study identifies the underlying beliefs and perceptions that affect diabetes self-management behavior in the US Marshallese population living in Arkansas. Methods: The study employs focus groups with a semi-structured interview guide developed using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach and the Health Belief Model. Data were collected from 41 participants; bilingual community co-investigators provided translation as needed. Results: The results show high-perceived threat, with most participants describing diabetes as inevitable and a death sentence. Participants are generally unaware of the benefits of diabetes self-management behaviors, and the Marshallese population faces significant policy, environmental, and systems barriers to diabetes self-management. The primary cue to action is a diagnosis of diabetes, and there are varying levels of self-efficacy. Conclusions: The research grounded in the Health Belief Model provides important contributions that can help advance diabetes self-management efforts within Pacific Islander communities.
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Keywords: COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH; DIABETES; HEALTH DISPARITIES; MINORITY HEALTH; PACIFIC ISLANDERS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Director Office of Community Health and Research, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest, Fayetteville, AR;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 3: Associate Professor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 4: Community Research Coordinator, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest, Fayetteville, AR 5: Vice Chancellor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest, Fayetteville, AR

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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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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