Older diabetic patients' attitudes and beliefs about health and illness

Authors

  • Hatice Ağralı MsN, RN,

    Research Assistant
    1. Faculty of Nursing, Hacettepe University, Sıhhıye, Ankara, Turkey
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  • İmatullah Akyar PhD, RN

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Nursing, Hacettepe University, Sıhhıye, Ankara, Turkey
    • Correspondence: İmatullah Akyar, Hacettepe University Faculty of Nursing Sıhhıye/Ankara, Turkey. Telephone: +90 312 305 15 80 143.

      E-mail: akyarim@gmail.com

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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To determine older diabetic patients' attitudes and beliefs about illness and health.

Background

Prevention of metabolic complications and treatment for cardiovascular risk factors are the main aims of the care and treatment of older diabetic patients. For the effective management of diabetes, it is crucial to recognise patients' beliefs and attitudes about and behaviours towards their health and illness.

Design

A descriptive study.

Methods

The sample included 70 diabetic patients aged 65 and older. Data were collected using a socio-demographic form and the Health Belief Model Scale. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Mann–Whitney U-test, t-test, Kruskal–Wallis test, Welch variance analysis and Spearman correlation.

Results

Results showed that older diabetic patients' attitudes about illness and health were negative. Among individuals aged 65–70 years with more than secondary education and previous employment, mean perceived severity scores were found to be significantly higher than in other groups. The mean perceived barriers scores were found to be higher than in other groups, and this difference was statistically significant for older participants who declared a good economic status, who exhibited good/very good adherence to nutritional therapy and who were exercising and checking their blood sugar regularly. The perceived benefits and recommended activities scores of patients needing more education were significantly higher.

Conclusions

Patients who were female, aged 70 and older, and of low educational and economic statuses; who showed poor adherence to treatment and medical nutrition therapy; and who needed diabetes-related training had negative health beliefs and were particularly at risk.

Relevance to clinical practice

Determining the personal factors that influence health behaviours can support the development of educational activities for diabetes management, complication prevention and treatment adherence improvement.

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