Perception of diabetes: The Turkish case

Guvenc Isýker Gulbanu, Dilek Onkal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Growing epidemiological and physiological evidence points out the primary prevention of Type II diabetes through diet and exercise. It is an important issue because diabetes is a costly illness both in human and monetary terms. Accordingly, one of the fundamental tasks of researchers is to improve healthy individual's understanding of the relation of behavioral and social factors to diabetes and how they may affect these factors. This goal can only be achieved by understanding individuals' perceptions of diabetes. Aim: To understand healthy individuals' perceptions of Type II diabetes and to improve risk communication about the illness. Method: As a starting point of the research, a scale on "perceptions of diabetes" was developed. Accordingly, 51 items were generated by a group of psychology and decision sciences researchers. This scale was administered to 153 university students. The research has not been completed yet. Further work will involve administration of the self-constructed scale along with anxiety and coping scales to assess criterion-related validity. Finally, the results will be used for improved communication of risks about diabetes in Turkey. Results: Analysis of the data indicated a two-factor solution with 18 items (internal consistencies for factor 1 and factor 2 are 0.852 and 0.776, respectively). The factors were labeled as "anxiety" and "coping." Conclusions: The findings of the preliminary study about the construction of a scale on perception of diabetes shows that anxiety and coping are important determinants in individuals' perceptions of diabetes. Furthermore, respondents are not well informed about the prevention of diabetes through diet and exercise. These findings indicate the need for a risk communication study to present people with complete and relevant information about the illness. It is important to note that risk communication messages should both stimulate risk perceptions and promote coping ability with the illness.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


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