Exploring doctor-patient communication in immigrant Australians with type 2 diabetes: A qualitative study

Renata Kokanovic, Lenore Hilda Manderson

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OBJECTIVE: The study explored the perceptions of Australian immigrants about their interactions with doctors regarding the diagnosis, treatment, and management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 men and women from Greek, Indian, Chinese, and Pacific Island backgrounds living in Melbourne, Australia, to elicit their perceptions of the management of diabetes and its impact. Participants were recruited through a convenience sample of general practitioners and community organizations providing support to people living with diabetes. Topics discussed included initial reaction to diagnosis, patient-health care provider communication, and the influence of message framing on the perception of the quality of the doctor-patient relationship. Transcripts were coded and analyzed by both authors. RESULTS: Numerous issues facilitate or inhibit constructive and positive relationships between doctors and patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients reported difficulty in absorbing all the information provided to them at early consultations, and experienced difficulty comprehending the practical aspects of management. Styles of communication and discourses of normalization and catastrophe influenced participants responses. CONCLUSION: Doctors face a complex task in encouraging behavioral change and adherence and establishing and maintaining a supportive relationship with patients. The timing and technical complexity of communication about diabetes, its management, and the prevention of complications require further attention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459 - 463
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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