Preliminary Feasibility of a Peer-supported Diabetes Medication Adherence Intervention for African Americans

November 1, 2019


African Americans (AAs) have higher rates of medication nonadherence compared to non-Hispanic whites. In this study, we determined the preliminary feasibility of an 8-week intervention focused on improving culturally-informed illness and medication beliefs, self-efficacy, and medication adherence.


We used purposeful sampling to recruit 8 peer ambassadors (PAs), individuals constituting the advisory board of AAs adherent to their medicines, and 7 peer buddies (PBs), assessed as non-adherent to their diabetes medicines. PAs and PBs were paired. They completed 2 group educational sessions together and one follow-up phone call to PBs by PAs.


PAs were mostly female (N = 5, 63%), mean age of 55 years (± 8.3). Similarly, PBs were mostly female (N = 6, 86%), mean age of 56 years (± 6.3). Follow-up interviews with PBs revealed that they liked discussing medication management strategies and diabetes management resources, sharing their diabetes experiences with their PA and connecting with them over the phone. All PBs reported a positive, trusting relationship between them and their PAs.


This study demonstrates AAs with diabetes medication adherence challenges are receptive to a peer support mechanism to address culturally informed beliefs and enhance patient-provider communication and self-efficacy.