Evaluation of Jamaican knowledge of diabetes and health beliefs


  • Melody L. Hartzler Cedarville University School of Pharmacy
  • Aleda M.H. Chen Cedarville University School of Pharmacy
  • Bethany L. Murphy Union University School of Pharmacy
  • Sarah J. Rodewald Cedarville University School of Nursing




Jamaica, diabetes, health beliefs, knowledge


Background & Aims: The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated that over 382 million people worldwide were affected by diabetes in 2013. The Caribbean region consistently is above the global average in regards to diabetes prevalence.  Specifically in Jamaica, researchers have found that the management of diabetes is not consistent with international guidelines, and in Caribbean culture there are additional health beliefs that are different than typical US-based diabetes management practices and may need to be addressed. The purpose of this study is to (1) evaluate rural Jamaican patients’ diabetes-related knowledge and health beliefs, (2) determine the association between diabetes-related knowledge and health beliefs, and (3) identify diabetes-related educational needs in rural Jamaica. 

Methods:  Rural Jamaican patients with diabetes (N=48, mean age = 55.16±15.08) were asked to complete questionnaires for cross-sectional examination of knowledge and health beliefs during a medical mission trip to the St. Elizabeth parish of Jamaica.  Participants were asked to verbally complete the Spoken Knowledge in Low Literacy in Diabetes Scale (SKILLD, 10 items) and Health Belief Model-11 (HBM-11, 11 items), as well as a demographic instrument.  Analyses were performed in SPSS v. 19.0.  Frequencies were utilized for categorical variables, means for continuous variables, and medians for individual HBM items.  Spearman or Pearson correlations, as appropriate, were utilized to assess associations.

Results:  Participants had poor knowledge of diabetes, particularly regarding signs and symptoms of hyper/hypoglycemia, importance of foot and eye exams, fasting blood glucose levels, and long-term complications of diabetes.  Knowledge deficits were associated with educational attainment, as many participants had only completed primary school.  Most participants indicated they were ready to take action regarding their health.

Conclusions:  Among this population of rural Jamaican patients, general knowledge regarding diabetes remains low but patients want to take action regarding their diabetes.  These results indicate a continued need to develop programs to provide diabetes-related education to patients living in rural Jamaica, as patients are ready to improve their management of diabetes.

Author Biographies

Melody L. Hartzler, Cedarville University School of Pharmacy

Asisstant Professor of Pharmacy Practice

Dr. Hartzler earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Ohio Northern University. After finishing her degree she completed her pharmacy practice residency at the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus, Ohio. During her residency she also obtained a teaching certificate from The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. Her clinical specialization involves Medication Therapy Management Services (MTMS) including anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension, and lipid management.

Dr. Hartzler's clinical practice involves a collaborative practice at the Victor J. Cassano Health Center in Dayton, a facility focused upon serving individuals with limited access to health care.  In this role she provides clinical pharmacy services in a physician teaching facility.

Aleda M.H. Chen, Cedarville University School of Pharmacy

Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice

Bethany L. Murphy, Union University School of Pharmacy

Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice

Sarah J. Rodewald, Cedarville University School of Nursing

Adjunct Instructor of Nursing


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How to Cite

Hartzler, M. L., Chen, A. M., Murphy, B. L., & Rodewald, S. J. (2014). Evaluation of Jamaican knowledge of diabetes and health beliefs. Christian Journal for Global Health, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.15566/cjgh.v1i2.13