"Sometimes our mob don't really take it serious until it's serious": The experiences of Western Australian Aboriginal adolescents living with type 2 diabetes, their parents and family members

Rebecca Carman, Amanda Towell-Barnard, Mark Shah, Elizabeth Davis, Louise Maple-Brown, Glenn Pearson, Diana Arabiat, Renae Kirkham, Lisa Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: In Australia, Aboriginal children experience disproportionate rates of type 2 diabetes compared to non-Aboriginal children. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of Aboriginal adolescents with type 2 diabetes and their family members to better understand the influences of type 2 diabetes on self-management with findings used to inform an enhanced service models of care.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with purposely selected Western Australian Aboriginal adolescents with type 2 diabetes, their parents, and guardians. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed in NVivo through interpretative thematic analysis; overarching themes were generated.

RESULTS: Interviews with 24 participants, including eight adolescents aged 11-16 years were conducted across four regions of Western Australia. A high proportion of the adolescents were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during a non-related hospitalisation or medical appointment. Most did not fully understand, nor were aware of the long-term impact of type 2 diabetes. Discussions about diabetes within families did not typically occur, and shame and concealment of their diagnosis was a common finding. Parents described the adolescent's diagnosis of type 2 diabetes as compounding an already challenging set of circumstances for the family. This impacted the parents capacity to encourage and promote self-management activities and attend hospital and outpatient appointments.

CONCLUSION: This study privileges the voices of Aboriginal adolescents and family members and offers insight into their personal narrative living with type 2 diabetes. Building family and community capacity to normalise preventative activities and manage type 2 diabetes post-diagnosis, is recommended to address the escalating rates of diabetes and improve the health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Diabetes
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

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