The effectiveness of a promotora-led intervention for Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes

Josefina Lujan, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Purpose. The purpose of this randomized control repeated measures trial was to determine the effectiveness of a self-management intervention led by community lay workers called promotoras on the health outcomes of Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes living in a major city on the Texas - Mexico border. The specific aims of this study, in relation to the intervention group participants, were to: (1) decrease the glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) blood levels at the six-month assessment, (2) increase diabetes knowledge at the three and six-month assessments, and (3) strengthen the participants' beliefs in their ability to manage diabetes at the three and six-month assessments. Methods. One hundred and fifty Mexican American participants were recruited at a Catholic faith-based clinic and randomized into an intervention group and a usual-care control group. Personal characteristics, acculturation and baseline A1c, diabetes knowledge and diabetes health beliefs were measured. The six-month, two-phase intervention was culturally specific and it was delivered entirely by promotoras. Phase One of the intervention consisted of sixteen hours of participative group education and bi-weekly telephone contact follow-up. Phase Two consisted of bi-weekly follow-up using inspirational faith-based health behavior change postcards. The A1c levels, diabetes knowledge and diabetes health beliefs were measured at baseline, and three and six months post-baseline. The mean changes between the groups were analyzed using analysis of covariance. Results. The 80% female sample, with a mean age of 58 years, demonstrated very low: acculturation, income, education, health insurance coverage, and strong Catholicism. No significant changes were noted at the three-month assessment, but the mean change of the A1c levels (F (1, 148 = 10.28, p < .001) and the diabetes knowledge scores (F (1, 148 = 9.0, p < .002) of the intervention group improved significantly at six months, adjusting for health insurance coverage. The diabetes health belief scores decreased in both groups. Conclusions. This study demonstrated that an intervention led by promotoras could result in decreased A1c levels and increased diabetes knowledge in spite of the very low acculturation, educational level and insurance coverage of the intervention group participants. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are suggested.

Subject Area

Nursing|Public health

Recommended Citation

Lujan, Josefina, "The effectiveness of a promotora-led intervention for Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3245869.