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September 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1992 Jun; 34(12): 1317-23.

"It's like you're down on a bed of affliction": aging and diabetes among black Americans.

Reid BV.

Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.

This article examines the self-care methods of Black diabetics as they are affected by the variable of age. A study of 32 patients at a diabetes clinic in San Francisco, California, revealed two major ways in which chronological age is related to the management of diabetes: (1) older patients must cope with multiple disorders, a factor which influences the way in which they approach diabetes treatment; (2) the three sectors of the health care system (professional, folk and popular) are emphasized differently according to age. Older diabetics rely less on folk and popular sectors and more on professional care than do those in other age categories. The article also addresses the effects of multiple facets of aging (chronological age, self-perceived age, and cultural meanings of age) on diabetics' self-care. Implications of these findings for diabetes treatment and for compliance issues are discussed.

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