The Effect of a Community-Based Self-Help Intervention: Korean Americans With Type 2 Diabetes

Miyong T. Kim, Kim B. Kim, Boyun Huh, Tam Nguyen, Hae Ra Han, Lee R. Bone, David Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Introduction Korean Americans are one of the most underserved ethnic/linguistic minority groups owing to cultural and institutional barriers; there is an urgent need for culturally competent diabetes management programs in the Korean American community for those with type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of a community-based, culturally tailored, multimodal behavioral intervention program in an ethnic/linguistic minority group with type 2 diabetes. Design An RCT with waitlist comparison based on the Predisposing, Reinforcing, and Enabling Constructs in Education/environmental Diagnosis and Evaluation (PRECEDE)-Policy, Regulatory, and Organizational Constructs in Educational and Environmental Development (PROCEED) and self-help models. Data were collected between September 2010 and June 2013 and were analyzed in August-December 2014. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05. Setting/participants In a naturally occurring community setting, a total of 250 Korean Americans with type 2 diabetes were randomized into an intervention group (n=120) or a control group (n=130). Intervention The intervention consisted of key self-management skill-building activities through 12 hours of group education sessions, followed by integrated counseling and behavioral coaching by a team of RNs and community health workers. Main outcome measures Primary (clinical) outcomes were hemoglobin A1c, glucose, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein at baseline and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Secondary (psychosocial and behavioral) outcomes included diabetes-related quality of life, self-efficacy, adherence to diabetes management regimen, and health literacy. Results During the 12-month project, the intervention group demonstrated 1.0%-1.3% (10.9-14.2 mmol/mol) reductions in hemoglobin A1c, whereas the control group achieved reductions of 0.5%-0.7% (5.5-7.7 mmol/mol). The differences between the two groups were statistically significant. The intervention group showed statistically significant improvement in diabetes-related self-efficacy and quality of life when compared with the control group. Conclusions RN/community health worker teams equipped with culturally tailored training can be effective in helping an ethnic/linguistic minority group manage diabetes in the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-737
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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