The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) is facing a diabetes epidemic similar to the one on the U.S. mainland, yet little is known regarding the cultural context relevant to self-management in this U.S. territory. We conducted in-home interviews (n = 53) supplemented by self-administered questionnaire and A1c testing with U.S. Virgin Islanders to characterize self-management knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among patients living with diabetes. The mean glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) was 7.63 (Range = 5–13); a composite score of traditional self-management behaviors was not associated with A1c. Several recurrent themes emerged from qualitative analysis including: 1) cultural nuances shaped perspectives on self-management, 2) culturally-specific challenges were barriers to effective self-management, 3) medical homes were rarely viewed as the primary source of education and support, and 4) fear largely motivated or stalled self-management practices. This study highlights the need for culturally-tailored measures and interventions to address the specific needs within this population.


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pp. 271-283
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