Academic journal article Chinese America: History and Perspectives

Accommodating Care of Type 2 Diabetes for the Chinese American Family

Academic journal article Chinese America: History and Perspectives

Accommodating Care of Type 2 Diabetes for the Chinese American Family

Article excerpt

Type 2 diabetes is an illness that affects the Chinese American population disproportionally. Although Chinese American diabetic patients have reported the importance of the family in adequate diabetes care, little is known about how Chinese American families go about supporting or negotiating the care of diabetes. This constitutes the impetus for the current study

With a subsample from a larger study on couple and family relations in diabetes care, repeated, narrative group interviews with sixteen Chinese American immigrant families were conducted to understand the culturally specific responses to type 2 diabetes. Three culturally specific considerations emerged from the narratives. First, patients and spouses conceptualized diabetes in terms of an imbalance of an internal "hot" and "cold" dynamic, and they ingested "hot" and "cold" food or herbs as a counterbalancing measure to help diabetes care. Second, rather than viewing food as simply a form of sustenance, patients and spouses viewed food as essential to quality of life and quality of social relationships. Third, families accommodated as a way to provide care. Patients and spouses enacted various practices and concerns to balance quality of life and care for the family on one hand with diabetes management in their daily lives on the other. …

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