Time to question diabetes self-management support for Arabic-speaking migrants: exploring a new model of care

H Alzubaidi, K Mc Namara, C Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The objective of this study was to explore a new model for diabetes self-management support in Arabic-speaking migrants. 

Methods: Two qualitative methods were used: face-to-face semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and coded thematically. Arabic-speaking migrants with Type 2 diabetes were recruited from several primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare settings in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. These settings were purposefully selected to obtain a diverse group of participants. Data collection continued until saturation was reached. This is the first study that involved members of Arabic-speaking communities in Australia in a formal process of consumer and public involvement to inform research design and recruitment in order to provide evidence for a new model of diabetes self-management for Arabic-speaking migrants. 

Results: No self-management support was offered to Arabic-speaking migrants beyond the initial diagnosis period. Significant knowledge gaps and skills deficits in all self-management domains were evident. The provision of tailored self-management support was considered crucial. When asked about preferred structure and delivery modalities, a strong preference was reported for face-to-face storytelling interactions over telephone- or internet-based interventions. Gender-specific group education and self-management support sessions delivered by Arabic-speaking diabetes health professionals, lay peers or social workers trained in diabetes self-management were highly regarded. 

Conclusions: A patient and public involvement approach allows genuine engagement with Arabic-speaking migrants with diabetes. There is urgent need for a new model for self-management support among Arabic-speaking migrants. Findings yielded new recommendations for diabetes health professionals working with these migrant communities to support behaviour change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-355
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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