Original Publication Date
BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care
DOI of Original Publication
Date of Submission
Within Latino culture, there is a belief that strong emotions can cause diabetes. Because of this belief and evidence regarding the bi-directional relationship between depression and diabetes, the objectives of this study were to determine if medical doctors are asking Latinos with diabetes about emotional problems and to assess attitudes toward professional help for emotional problems.
Research design and methods
Data come from the nationally representative National Latino and Asian American Study and the National Comorbidity Survey Replication study. Only Latino subsamples were included (n=3076). A smaller subsample with complete data (n=2568) was used for the inquiry outcome variable. Weighted χ2 analysis and logistic regression were conducted to determine the likelihood of being asked about emotional problems and attitudes toward professional help.
Latinos with mood disorders or anxiety (MD/AX; OR 2.84, 95% CI 2.02 to 4.00), diabetes only (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.06 to 2.69), and co-occurring diabetes and MD/AX (OR 6.67, 95% CI 2.33 to 19.04) were more likely to be asked about emotional problems, relative to Latinos without diabetes or MD/AX. A minority of respondents with diabetes (32%) were asked about emotional problems. Respondents with diabetes only were more likely to feel comfortable talking to a professional for personal problems compared with those without diabetes or MD/AX (OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.09). Although the relationship between having diabetes and feeling comfortable taking to a professional is not statistically significant, z-test statistics indicate that having diabetes influences attitudes about discussing emotional problems.
Among Latinos, having diabetes is associated with greater likelihood of being asked about emotional problems and feeling comfortable talking to a professional about personal problems. Consistent with the cultural relevance of emotions as a cause of diabetes, asking about emotional problems may be a useful approach for engaging Latinos into a discussion about their diabetes self-care activities.
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VCU Family Medicine and Population Health Publications