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Beliefs about health and illness in Latin-American migrants with diabetes living in Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Division of Health, Activity and Care. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.
Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: Open Nursing Journal, ISSN 1874-4346, Vol. 7, 57-65 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim was to explore beliefs about health and illness in Latin American migrants diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (DM) living in Sweden, and investigated also the influence on self-care and care-seeking behavior. Migrants are particularly affected in the diabetes pandemia. Beliefs about health and illness guide health-related behaviour and health but no studies have been identified on Latin American migrants with DM. An explorative study design with focus-group interviews of nine persons aged 36-77 years from a diabetes clinic was used. Health was described from a pathogenetic or a salutogenetic perspective: 'freedom from disease or feeling of well-being', and being autonomous and able to work. Economic hardship due to high costs for medications and food for DM affected health. Individual factors such as diet, exercise and compliance with given advice, and social factors with good social relations and avoidance of stress, often caused by having experienced severe events related to migrational experiences, were considered of importance for maintaining health and could cause DM. Disturbed relations to others (social factors), punishment by Fate or God (supernatural factors), intake of drugs (diuretics) and imbalance between warmth and cold (natural factors) were also perceived as causes. A mixture of biomedical and traditional explanations and active self-care behaviour with frequent use of herbs was identified. It is important to assess the individual's beliefs, and healthcare staff, particularly nurses, should incorporate discussions of alternative treatments and other components of explanatory models and co-operate with social workers to consider the influence of economic resources and migrational experiences on health.



Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bentham Open , 2013. Vol. 7, 57-65 p.
Keyword [en]
Beliefs about health/illness, Care-seeking behaviour, Diabetes mellitus, Latin Americans, migrants, self-care.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-99848DOI: 10.2174/1874434601307010057PubMedID: 23802030OAI: diva2:658387
Available from: 2013-10-21 Created: 2013-10-21 Last updated: 2013-10-30Bibliographically approved

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Hjelm, Katarina
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