Prof. Tera Jordan

A team of Iowa State University researchers interviewed 20 African American families with a high risk for Type 2 diabetes and discovered frequent miscommunication about the disease between parents and their adult children. Tera Jordan, a professor of human development and family studies at ISU, says her interviews with the families often turned into interventions.

“They had never really talked about the diagnosis, the ways in which medical providers had been advising them to eat or to take their medicine,” Jordan says, “and so that then raised some questions among the adult children: ‘Why haven’t you shared this with me? I would like to know this. We’re going to talk more after we leave the interview today.'”

These conversations are a follow-up to a larger study of families in Iowa and Georgia that found an elevated rate for Type 2 Diabetes among African Americans in their middle to late adulthood.

“We wanted to know more about how these parents communicated about Type 2 diabetes with their now-adult children who are 25 to 27 years of age,” Jordan says.

The conclusions from those follow-up conversations have been published in a medical journal. Jordan says the study has insights that may help doctors and nurses give better advice to their African American patients. African Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as white Americans. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 13 percent of adult African Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes/