A systematic review of research on culturally relevant issues for Hispanics with diabetes.

Arlene Caban, Elizabeth A. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this review is to provide a description of current research on culturally relevant issues among Hispanics subgroups with diabetes throughout the United States. METHODS: A search of 2655 abstracts was conducted using Medline, PubMed, and Psychlit. Sixty articles were identified, and 33 were reviewed. RESULTS: Most studies focused on Mexican Americans, and little is known about the unique and shared health beliefs of different Hispanics subgroups within the United States. Personal models of illness varied across groups and were influenced by levels of acculturation. Definitions and treatments for susto varied considerably: Puerto Ricans did not identify it as a cause of diabetes. Patients' thoughts about God and diabetes differed, and little is known about how these thoughts affect diabetes self-management. There is also limited research on Hispanics' use of curanderos (folk healers) for diabetes-related care, and only some participants reported using alternative treatments in conjunction with standard medical care. There is limited evidence that fatalistic thinking is unique to Hispanic culture, and its relationship to diabetes self-management remains unclear. CONCLUSIONS: More research is needed to determine how cultural factors influence Hispanics' approaches to diabetes self-management. Clinicians and educators would benefit from exploring cultural belief systems with patients, as they may enhance the patient-provider relationship and serve as tools in identifying appropriate treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-595
Number of pages12
JournalThe Diabetes Educator
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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