Project Overview +

This feasibility study explores audience segment characteristics among Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes ranging from low to high on acculturation and structural assimilation. Particular attention is devoted to examining associations between diabetes-related behaviors and beliefs and acculturation/structural assimilation that have been previously suggested through qualitative research.

Aims +

Develop a future trial to test whether a tailored intervention can improve type 2 diabetes management among Mexican Americans.

Participants +

Two hundred fifty Latinos who have self-reported diabetes and Mexican American ancestry. Participants are recruited via a combination of random-digit dialing and through a purchased sample.

Intervention +

Participants are interviewed via a telephone survey. Participants include individuals of Mexican American ancestry living in Census tracts with high, medium, and low Hispanic ethnic densities in Texas and California. The survey is administered by bilingual, bicultural interviewers with Mexican American ancestry and similar language characteristics. Data from this study is being used to refine measurement of acculturation/structural assimilation and to characterize audience segments.

Findings +

Spanish use was positively associated with:

  • Belief in "susto" as a cause of diabetes
  • Preference for expert-driven health guidance
  • Involvement of others in diabetes management

Value for preserving Mexican culture was associated with:

  • A more holistic view of health
  • Increased likelihood of consulting a curandero
  • Use of prayer
  • Interest in a diabetes program with religious content

Value for cultural preservation was associated with:

  • Higher suspicion of free diabetes programs

Conclusion +

This study suggests distinct relationships between acculturation constructs and diabetes-related beliefs and preferences. This argues against the use of a single acculturation construct to determine diabetes intervention design. Cultural tailoring may enhance the appropriateness and effectiveness of diabetes interventions for Mexican American adults.