Barriers and Facilitators to Shared Decision-making Among African-Americans with Diabetes

  • Monica E. PeekEmail author
  • Shannon C. Wilson
  • Rita Gorawara-Bhat
  • Angela Odoms-Young
  • Michael T. Quinn
  • Marshall H. Chin
Brief Report



Shared decision-making (SDM) between patients and their physicians is associated with improved diabetes health outcomes. African-Americans have less SDM than Whites, which may contribute to diabetes racial disparities. To date, there has been little research on SDM among African-Americans.


We explored the barriers and facilitators to SDM among African-Americans with diabetes.


Qualitative research design with a phenomenological methodology using in-depth interviews (n = 24) and five focus groups (n = 27). Each interview/focus group was audio-taped and transcribed verbatim, and coding was conducted using an iterative process. Participants: We utilized a purposeful sample of African-American adult patients with diabetes. All patients had insurance and received their care at an academic medical center.


Patients identified multiple SDM barriers/facilitators, including the patient/provider power imbalance that was perceived to be exacerbated by race. Patient-related factors included health literacy, fear/denial, family experiences and self-efficacy. Reported physician-related barriers/facilitators include patient education, validating patient experiences, medical knowledge, accessibility and availability, and interpersonal skills.


Barriers/facilitators of SDM exist among African-Americans with diabetes, which can be effectively addressed in the outpatient setting. Primary care physicians, particularly academic internists, may be uniquely situated to address these barriers/facilitators and train future physicians to do so as well.


shared decision-making patient-provider communication diabetes African-Americans 



This research was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Diabetes Research and Training Center (P60 DK20595). Dr. Peek is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development program and the Mentored Patient-Oriented Career Development Award of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (K23 DK075006). Support for Dr. Chin is provided by a Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research from the NIDDK (K24 DK071933-01).

The funding sources had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript for publication. Dr. Peek had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica E. Peek
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Shannon C. Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rita Gorawara-Bhat
    • 2
    • 5
  • Angela Odoms-Young
    • 2
    • 6
  • Michael T. Quinn
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marshall H. Chin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Diabetes Research and Training CenterUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Center for Health and the Social SciencesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Center for the Study of Race, Politics and CultureUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Section of Geriatrics and Palliative Care, Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Kinesiology and NutritionUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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