The sweet taste of health: A positive deviance inquiry into communicative acts that lead to effective management of diabetes among Hispanics

Claudia Martinez Boyd, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Diabetes is among the fastest growing diseases in the world. In the U.S., Hispanics are the third most affected population. Nonetheless, there are Hispanics diagnosed with diabetes who have, against all odds, found solutions to manage their disease. This study focused on the intrapersonal and interpersonal acts and behaviors of “positive deviant” Hispanics living on the U.S. – Mexico border that effectively managed their diabetes. They are referred to as “positive deviants” because they accrue “positive” outcomes and “deviants” because they are not the norm. ^ A PD inquiry was conducted and twelve PD respondents between the ages of 20 and 82 were identified based on seven inclusion criteria: Hispanic, residents of El Paso, Texas, diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, A1c at prediabetic levels (6.4 or below) maintained for at least one year, taking one (at minimum dosage) or no oral diabetes medications, no insulin intake and no weight loss surgery. In-depth interviews and participatory sketching/photography with PD respondents were used to collect data. ^ Overall, intrapersonal behavior, the communication that one has with oneself, revealed that PD respondents did not characterize diabetes, including its diagnosis, as a mark of stigma. They were likely to embrace it. Not feeling stigmatized, PD respondents disclosed their diagnosis to family, friends and coworkers, which engendered social support from all quarters. Study findings exemplify the need for utilizing approaches such as positive deviance for diabetes management in order to uncover and amplify the existing wisdom in communities. ^ Keywords: diabetes, positive deviance, Hispanic, communicative acts, diabetes management, intrapersonal communication, interpersonal communication, disclosure^

Subject Area

Communication|Public health

Recommended Citation

Boyd, Claudia Martinez, "The sweet taste of health: A positive deviance inquiry into communicative acts that lead to effective management of diabetes among Hispanics" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1596579.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1596579

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