Using focus group methodology to develop diabetes screening, education, and prevention programs for African American women
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Few studies have been done to determine the perceptions and beliefs that nondiabetic African American women have about diabetes and secondary complications that result from the disease. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to involve low- and middle-income African American women in focus groups to elicit their perceptions and beliefs about diabetes and to generate ideas for developing diabetes education, risk reduction, and screening programs tailored to African American women. The study population consisted of low- and middle-income African American women that resided in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex who had no personal history of diabetes. Twenty-eight African American women between the ages of 25–65 were recruited through the assistance of two churches, a beauty salon, and a public health clinic. Participants' perceptions reflect knowledge of the severity of diabetes, but they lack an understanding of why the disease has severe complications. Participants lacked knowledge about the signs/symptoms of diabetes and how to be screened/tested for the disease. Participants reported being uncomfortable about asking physicians questions about diabetes, requesting brochures, and/or requesting a test for diabetes. The findings from this exploratory qualitative research study can be used to guide the design of health education and promotion programs for African American women who are at risk for developing non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or type 2 diabetes.