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Concerns About Professional Chinese Medicine Among Chinese Immigrants With Type 2 Diabetes

TitleConcerns About Professional Chinese Medicine Among Chinese Immigrants With Type 2 Diabetes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKwan, CML, Chun, KM, Huang, P, Chesla, CA
JournalDiabetes SpectrumDiabetes Spectrum
ISBN Number1040-9165
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Audiorecording, Chinese -- United States, Consumer Product Safety, Convenience Sample, Data Analysis Software, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Female, Funding Source, Health Beliefs, Human, Immigrants, Male, Medicine, Chinese Traditional, Middle Age, Patient Attitudes, Phenomenological Research, Professional Competence, Semi-Structured Interview, Snowball Sample, Thematic Analysis, Triangulation, United States
AbstractPurpose. The purpose of this study was to examine Chinese Americans' beliefs regarding professional Chinese medicine (CM) in diabetes management. Previous research showed substantial variations in Chinese Americans' beliefs about the role of professional CM, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine, in diabetes management. To provide culturally sensitive care, health care providers (HCPs) need a nuanced understanding of patients' beliefs about professional CM. Methods. An interpretive phenomenological study was conducted. The sample included 20 informant couples (40 paired individuals) who were Chinese-American immigrants living with type 2 diabetes. Nineteen additional individuals were enrolled as respondents for member-checking. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in couple, group, and individual formats with informants and in groups only with respondents. Interviews were recorded, translated, transcribed, and coded for narrative and thematic analyses. Respondent responses validated informant findings. Results. Participants reported five concerns about professional CM: low product quality and safety; questionable provider qualifications, ethics, and motives; a lack of scientific evidence for professional CM products and methods; adverse interactions of professional CM products with Western medicine drugs; and cumbersome preparation requirements. Conclusion. Chinese Americans express skepticism about professional CM and are thoughtful when deciding whether it is a viable treatment option. Some concerns appear well-founded. HCPs are encouraged to become familiar with these concerns and to be prepared to discuss them with patients. They are encouraged to support research on CM, thus advancing the knowledge needed for determining the role of CM in diabetes care and improving collaboration with Chinese patients.
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