Intergenerational Technology Transfer: Enhancing African American Older Adults’ Self-Efficacy for Diabetes Self-Management

Online Publication Date:
December 24, 2021
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:

** Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 15.4, December 2021. All rights reserved.**
Background: African American older adults are twice as likely to have diabetes than White older adults. Little is understood of African American older adults’ self-efficacy in using technology to support recommended chronic disease self-management.
Objectives: Our objective was to describe the feasibility of using a community-based health education session that used intergenerational technology transfer to promote use of technology to support self-management. The team designed a health and technology education session then measured its impact on African American older adults’ self-efficacy for using technology to support self-management.
Methods: The Community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach informed the study design which duplicated the sessions at the two study sites, in Detroit and Flint. We conducted a health education seminar in which older adults with diabetes shared insights on living with diabetes with younger adults they selected from their personal networks. The younger adults showed older adults how to access health information on smartphones.
Results: The sample included African American older adults (aged 50+)(N=39) and younger adults (aged 18-49)(N=26). All participants showed improvements in self-efficacy for following recommendations for diet (i.e., preparing healthy meals (p=0.0179) and healthy diet behavior (p=0.0044)) and physical activity (i.e., reduction in effort to exercise (p=0.0185)), and for six of seven items which measured confidence in using technology for self-management (e.g., using technology for health (p=0.0002)).
Conclusions: Findings provide foundational observations to inform evidence-based healthy aging interventions that use technology. Future research should explore the efficacy of community-based health education sessions with intergenerational technology transfer designed to support self-management.