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Innere Medizin 13. Juni 2017

Difficulties in health care for female Turkish immigrants with type 2 diabetes: a qualitative study in Vienna

According to studies, type 2 diabetes mellitus (DMT2) is more commonly encountered among Turkish immigrants than resident populations in Europe and Turkish people living in Turkey. Within this context this study focused on female Turkish immigrants with DMT2 who are living in Vienna. The purpose of this study was to determine the needs, expectations, special conditions and cultural characteristics of Turkish women with DMT2 by gathering information about their own perceptions about DMT2, difficulties encountered during the diagnosis, treatment and their experiences living with the disease. A qualitative phenomenological design was utilized with a sample of 13 participants recruited from the Turkish mosques in Vienna. The interview guide, which included semi-structured questions, was based on previous studies conducted on DMT2 and immigration. Interviews were transcribed verbally from tape recordings, translated into German and each statement paraphrased for further analysis. The interviews indicated participants’ degree of knowledge about DMT2 and was the most significant factor affecting approaches to the disease. The most important difficulty for the participants was the re-organization of nutritional habits to DMT2 because of the Turkish cuisine culture. The results of this study can be utilized by the health care providers to gain an understanding of Turkish immigrants and DMT2. Thus, it will enable them to adapt their health care and education to meet the needs of this population better.


The prevalence of diabetes mellitus has increased worldwide in recent years. This increase is noteworthy among immigrants in Europe, especially of Turkish descent [ 1 ]. According to studies conducted in European countries, such as Germany, Sweden and Netherlands, diabetes mellitus is more commonly encountered among Turkish immigrants than resident populations and Turkish people living in Turkey [ 2 – 5 ]. Although there is no study on the prevalence of diabetes mellitus among Turkish immigrants living in Austria, diabetes mellitus is 1.39 times more common among male immigrants, and 3.40 times more common among female immigrants living in Austria than the resident population according to Statistics Austria 2007[ 6 ].

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