Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 33–44 | Cite as

Qualitative Trends in Biopsychosocial-Spiritual Treatment for Underserved Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

  • Rola O. AamarEmail author
  • Angela L. Lamson
  • Doug Smith
Original Paper


Diabetes is a significant and growing concern for minority and underserved populations, especially in rural communities that have limited resources available for best managing complex biopsychosocial challenges. Thus, it is essential to understand patient-identified needs, challenges, and strengths when managing this disease. This study was completed at a community health center for underserved populations in Eastern North Carolina. A qualitative design was used to explore biopsychosocial-spiritual concerns, strengths, and goals from 294 patients with uncontrolled diabetes. Recursive frame analysis was used to analyze the results from clinician constructed progress notes following an integrated care visit with a diabetes educator, medical family therapist, and dietician. This study focused on understanding biological, psychological, social, spiritual concerns, strengths and treatment goals reported by patients. We found that the most commonly reported concern for patients included managing A1c levels, weight, other medical conditions, depressive symptoms, family and financial stressors. The goals reported were related to these concerns. Common strengths included spirituality, social supports, willingness to change, and knowledge about diabetes. This article also highlights commonly reported collaborative therapeutic interventions and recommendations for approaches to care. The use of a collaborative-care team with a holistic approach to health care may provide patients with more comprehensive care. Patients reported strengths, concerns, and goals that were related to multiple aspects of their health (i.e., biological, psychological, social, and spiritual), therefore, to promote best practices in treating diabetes, providers should focus on each of these areas of health during treatment planning.


Biopsychosocial-spiritual Diabetes Collaborative Integrated care Minority/underserved populations 



We would like to thank Dr. Kenny Phelps and Ms. Jodimae Lyttle for their work on the data analysis for this project. We would also like to thank Ms. Amelia Muse for her work on editing the manuscript.

Grateful support to funders

The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund’s Health Disparities Initiative, RCHN Community Health Foundation and the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rola O. Aamar
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Angela L. Lamson
    • 2
  • Doug Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Services, College of Human SciencesTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Department of Child Development and Family Relations, 112 Redditt House: Medical Family Therapy Research Academy, College of Human EcologyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  3. 3.Greene County Health Care Inc.Snow HillUSA

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