SUBJECTIVE PERSPECTIVES OF DIABETES MELLITUS AMONG IMMIGRANTS ON THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore data concerning subjective theories, personal resources, and recommendations for counseling changes in people with diabetes mellitus from different Russian-speaking nationalities. Russian-speaking immigrants and Russian Germans may require a different type of diabetes education to native inhabitants. Design: A literature review of subjective theories of illness, personal resources, and recommendations for counseling was conducted. Methods: Literature published since 2009 was searched, including qualitative and quantitative studies. Data were found for Jewish and Russian-speaking immigrants with diabetes mellitus, but not for Russian Germans. The scope of the search was, therefore, widened. Literature on general loci of control, health beliefs, and diabetes education was included. Results: Seventeen articles were identified. These studies discussed health beliefs and behaviors, including externalized attribution of causes, and internalized locus of control. Homeopathic and natural therapies were generally preferred over other medications. However, socioeconomic status, level of education, and external circumstances in the country of origin were more important than differentiation by nationality. Conclusion: Therapists require knowledge of the living conditions in immigrants’ country of origin to inform their provision of medical advice. Immigrants’ general level of education, socioeconomic status, and previous living conditions are also important.
Keywords: Russian-speaking immigrants, Russian Germans, diabetes mellitus, health belief, health behavior, personal resources, counseling.