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Thesis Defence: Exploring Factors Affecting Attendance in a Diabetes Prevention Program among First-Generation Afghan Immigrants residing in the Okanagan, British Columbia

January 22 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Azar Bohlouli will defend their thesis.

Azar Bohlouli, supervised by Dr. Mary Jung, will defend their thesis titled “Exploring Factors Affecting Attendance in a Diabetes Prevention Program among First-Generation Afghan Immigrants residing in the Okanagan, British Columbia” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Health and Exercise Sciences.

An abstract for Azar Bohlouli’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in-person defences.


Background: As global immigration escalates, host nations must adapt to the diverse needs of new arrivals (Chand & Tung, 2019; Hilado et al., 2021; WHO, 2023). Immigrants forced to leave their homes often lack opportunities to learn about healthy behaviours, resources to practice health behaviours, or access proper treatment, compared to those who have not experienced forced resettlement (Hilado et al., 2021; WHO, 2023). The resettlement processes can also deteriorate health, making immigrants particularly vulnerable to non-communicable diseases like Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) (Qureshi et al., 2023; Towne et al., 2021; Wagner et al., 2020). Factors such as low socio-economic status, resettlement stress, acculturation challenges and traumatic life events may contribute to lower participation rates in diabetes prevention programs within host communities (Brown et al., 2023; Joachim-Célestin et al., 2020; Khatri & Assefa, 2022; Nieto-Martínez et al., 2023; van der Boor et al., 2020). This study aimed to understand the barriers and facilitators to attending a diabetes prevention program (DPP) amongst first generation Afghan immigrants in the Okanagan region of British Columbia (BC) with a social constructivism lens, using the Theoretical Domain Framework (TDF) to identify key domains influencing program attendance.

Methodology: Ten participants engaged in semi-structured interviews to explore perceived barriers and facilitators to diabetes prevention program attendance. Data were analysed abductively, with TDF as the deductive framework and Clarck and Braun’s six phases for thematic analysis for inductive analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).

Results: The analyses identified 146 facilitators and 39 barriers in total. The most frequently reported barriers affecting participant’s decision to attend a diabetes prevention program were coded as TDF domains: Knowledge, Environmental context and resources, and Social influence. Inductive coding resulted in three themes: 1. Deprivation of Life/Growth Opportunities, 2. Sociocultural and Environmental factors, and 3. Reciprocal community support.

Conclusion: Findings of this study highlight the need for culturally tailored features in community-based diabetes prevention programs to enhance their acceptability and effectiveness in immigrant populations living in the Okanagan, Canada. This study also highlights the importance of such programs in aiding immigrant integration into communities. Applying these findings can enhance program adaptation for new commers and minorities in Canada.


January 22
9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Engineering, Management, and Education Building (EME)
1137 Alumni Ave
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Health, Research and Innovation, Science, Technology and Engineering
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates