Aim: The aim of this study was to explore and compare medication-taking experiences and associated issues in Arabic-speaking and Caucasian English-speaking patients with Type 2 diabetes in Australia.
Methods: Various healthcare settings in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, were purposefully selected to obtain a diverse group of participants with Type 2 diabetes. Recruitment occurred at diabetes outpatient clinics in two tertiary referral hospitals, six primary care practices and ten community centres. Face-to-face semi-structured individual interviews and group interviews were employed. All interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and coded thematically. Data collection continued until saturation was reached.
Results: In total, 100 participants were recruited into two groups: 60 were Arabic-speaking and 40 were Caucasian English-speaking. Both groups had similar demographic and clinical characteristics. Only 5% of the Arabic-speaking participants had well-controlled diabetes compared with 17.5% of the participants in the English-speaking group. Arabic-speaking participants actively changed medication regimens on their own without informing their healthcare professionals. Arabic-speaking patients had more knowledge gaps about their prescribed treatments, compared with the English-speaking group. Their use of diabetes medicines was heavily influenced by peers with diabetes and family members; conversely, they feared revealing their diagnosis within the wider Arabic community due to stigma and collective negative social labelling of diabetes. Confidence in non-Arabic-speaking healthcare providers was lacking.
Conclusions: Findings yielded new insights into medication-taking practices and associated factors in Arabic-speaking patients with diabetes. It is vital that healthcare professionals working with Arabic-speaking patients adapt their treatment approaches to accommodate different beliefs and views about medicines.