Dissertations & Theses (Open Access)

Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)


Joan Engebretson PhD

Second Advisor

Rebecca Casarez, PhD

Third Advisor

Cassandra Diep, PhD


Background: Diabetes related complications resulting in mortality and morbidity are higher among Vietnamese individuals living in the U.S. with diabetes. Few studies have examined the personal perceptions and cultural beliefs pertaining to disease management. An in-depth understanding of perception and cultural beliefs in regard to diabetes self-management is needed for the development of culturally appropriate interventions in this population.

Purpose: Two specific aims were explored: 1) To explore how Vietnamese individuals living in the U.S. with prediabetes and diabetes conceptualize diabetes self-management and; 2) to understand how Vietnamese individuals living in the U.S. with prediabetes and diabetes integrate the cultural construct of treatment for diabetes self-management.

Method: The design was a medically focused ethnography with a sample size of 21 participants. Participant observations and semi-structured interviews were conducted to attain the specific aims. Data was analyzed using Spradley’s four levels of ethnographic approach.

Results: Participants were found to integrate Eastern and Western belief practices into diabetes self-management. The individual’s cultural beliefs, perception of disease, healthcare experiences, treatment and sources of diabetes information were found to affect diabetes self-management. Additionally, participants utilized many different sources, such as community health fairs, YouTube, and medical providers to acquire knowledge of the disease process.

Conclusion: The results of the study revealed the importance of understanding how Vietnamese Americans integrate both Eastern and Western perspectives into diabetes self-management. This understanding will help healthcare providers improve and manage diabetes disease through the development of culturally appropriate interventions that will reduce the short term and long term complications of diabetes in Vietnamese Americans.


Vietnamese Americans, diabetes, diabetes self-management

Included in

Nursing Commons



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