Public Health and Primary CareORIGINAL ARTICLE

Perceptions of and Attitudes Toward Diabetes Among Chinese Americans

Hannah Lee, MS, OMS IV, and Benjamin K.P. Woo, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: May 17, 2017

Accepted: June 5, 2017

Published: June 1, 2018

J Osteopath Med; 118(6): e33-e40

Context: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a global health issue among Asians, with rising prevalence and increasing disparities in proper disease management. However, studies on the perceptions of and attitudes toward diabetes, conducted to improve diabetes disparities, are disproportionately limited in Asian populations compared with other minority populations in the United States.

Objectives: To determine Chinese Americans’ perceptions of and attitudes toward diabetes.

Methods: Chinese Americans from the greater Los Angeles, California, area were asked to complete a survey. The survey was a self-administered 15-item true/false questionnaire to assess the respondents’ perceptions of and attitudes toward diabetes. The results of the questionnaire were grouped by age: younger adults (aged <55 years) and older adults (aged ≥55 years). A subset of respondents in each age group was matched based on gender and education, and their responses were analyzed for differences in attitudes toward diabetes. Two-tailed t test and χ2 test were used to compare continuous variables and categorical variables, respectively. Results with P<.05 were considered significant.

Results: A total of 449 of 485 Chinese Americans (93%) completed the survey. Among matched respondents (n=91 in each age group), more older respondents than younger respondents believed that (1) research on diabetes is solely beneficial for profiting pharmaceutical companies (23.1% vs 6.6%; P=.002) and (2) health insurance policies should not cover any costs of diabetes-related illnesses (28.6% vs 15.4%; P=.032).

Conclusions: Older Chinese Americans were more likely to hold stigmatized negative perceptions of and attitudes toward diabetes in relation to pharmaceutical companies and health insurance policies. Considering that an individual’s belief system largely influences self-care behaviors, actions should be taken to minimize negative perceptions of and attitudes toward diabetes.

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