OJN  Vol.4 No.3 , March 2014
Dissimilarities in Social Support as Described by Swedish- and Foreign-Born Persons Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Living in Sweden
Abstract: Diabetes (DM) requires self-care that is demanding and may cause stress. Social support can buffer effects of stress. No previous study has been found comparing perceptions of foreign-born persons with DM, concerning the content of and need for social support with a population of origin. The aim was to compare the meaning of support and its impact on the life situation in Swedish- and foreign-born persons diagnosed with type 2 DM living in Sweden. A purposive sample of 74 persons; 34 foreign- and 40 Swedish-born, aged 32-80 years, diagnosed with type 2 DM, was included. The foreign-born persons were mostly Middle Eastern and Ex-Yugoslavian refugees. Mixed methods were used and data were collected by qualitative interviews and quantitative data collected by the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire (NSSQ). Studying the figures measured by NSSQ, no significant differences were found according to gender but foreign-born men scored lower than Swedish, especially in emotional support and aid. The main findings showed that respondents, irrespective of origin, described the meaning of the concept of support mainly as information support in learning to manage DM. However, foreign-born persons also focused on medical support with regular follow-ups while Swedes emphasized the need for emotional support. Foreign- and Swedish-born persons are in general more similar than dissimilar in describing the meaning, need and impact of support. Irrespective of origin they want to learn to manage their disease and thus desire and need regular follow-up and information immediately from being diagnosed. Further studies are needed as the study is based on a limited sample.
Cite this paper: Hjelm, K. and Berterö, C. (2014) Dissimilarities in Social Support as Described by Swedish- and Foreign-Born Persons Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Living in Sweden. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 211-222. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.43025.

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