Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study looks at what older people think causes hypertension

21.02.2014
Older adults with hypertension may have dramatically different perceptions about the cause of their condition depending upon where they live, their ethnicity and other demographic characteristics, suggests new research that involved older adults in Arizona and Illinois.

Nearly 500 people with hypertension participated in the study, which aimed to better understand how patients conceptualize the cause of their high blood pressure in order to develop educational materials that improve patient self-care.

Patients’ perceptions about the cause of their hypertension are important because these beliefs influence their learning about the disease, the strategies that they choose to manage it and how well they adhere to treatment, said Elise A.G. Duwe, the lead author of the study. She is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in sociology in the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois.

“Understanding patients’ illness representations is particularly important for older adults because they are more likely to manage multiple chronic illnesses and have lower health literacy,” Duwe said. “An in-depth understanding of their illness representations opens up the possibility for developing cognitive interventions in patient education.”

The majority of patients – about 95 percent – are diagnosed with essential hypertension, which has no identifiable biomedical cause, Duwe said. “Still, patients come up with a cause to assist their conceptualization of the illness and their behavior” in relation to it.

The Arizona participants were at least 65 years old and taking at least one prescribed anti-hypertensive medication daily. Their counterparts in Illinois were at least 60 years of age and also had been diagnosed with hypertension prior to the study.

Participants were asked about the cause of their hypertension in an open-ended question on the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, a nine-item scale used to assess patients’ cognitive and emotional representations about their illnesses.

Using participants’ responses, the researchers identified six causal categories: behavioral, natural, physical, psychosocial, supernatural and other.

Behavioral causes included actions under a person’s control, while natural causes represented inherent and unchangeable characteristics such as family history, genetics and age.

Physical causes included variable and environmentally responsive characteristics, such as weight, diabetes and cholesterol.

Psychosocial causes involved the social and psychological environments surrounding a person while supernatural causes represented spiritual sources, such as God, destiny or fate.

If participants responded that they didn’t know the cause of their hypertension, or if they left the answer blank, the cause was coded as “other.”

Participants in the Arizona sample mainly attributed their high blood pressure to natural causes (36 percent) – that is, to inherent and unchangeable characteristics beyond their control, such as genetics.

Arizona participants were split over the remaining causes, with psychosocial factors – which included stress related to family and work – narrowly beating out physical causes (25 percent and 24 percent, respectively).

However, Illinoisans mainly attributed their hypertension to physical origins (33 percent), followed by natural causes (25 percent), and psychosocial causes (22 percent).

Illinoisans were twice as likely as their counterparts in Arizona (18 percent versus 9 percent, respectively) to attribute their hypertension to behavioral causes, which included factors under their control, such as diet, exercise and smoking.

The disparity between the two samples relative to behavioral causes may have occurred because the Illinois sample contained a higher percentage of men – 49 percent, versus 25 percent in the Arizona sample. Prior research has shown that men are more likely to believe that their high blood pressure is linked to their behavior.

Minorities, who composed 20 percent of each sample, were more likely to attribute their hypertension to psychosocial and behavioral causes, while white participants more frequently indicated natural and physical causes.

Arizona participants’ higher levels of health literacy and education – 76 percent had a high school education or greater versus 58 percent of the Illinoisans – may explain why they were more likely to view natural causes, the most biomedically accurate explanation, as the primary source of their hypertension, the authors wrote.

The co-authors of the study: Daniel G. Morrow, a professor of educational psychology in the College of Education and in the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, at Illinois; and, Kathleen C. Insel, a professor in the Behavioral Science Division, and Kari M. Koerner, research specialist, both at the University of Arizona College of Nursing.

Illinois students Nikki A. Falk and Anna M. Madison also contributed to the research.

Editor’s note: To contact Daniel Morrow, call 217-244-1828; email dgm@illinois.edu. To contact Elise A. G. Duwe, email eameyer2@illinois.edu.

Sharita Forrest | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Study suggests new way of preventing diabetes-associated blindness
26.05.2015 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Memories Influence Choice of Food
22.05.2015 | Universität Basel

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lasers are the key to mastering challenges in lightweight construction

Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).

Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...

Im Focus: Solid-state photonics goes extreme ultraviolet

Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.

In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...

Im Focus: Advance in regenerative medicine

The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.

Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quasi-sexual gene transfer drives genetic diversity of hot spring bacteria

29.05.2015 | Life Sciences

First Eastern Pacific tropical depression runs ahead of dawn

29.05.2015 | Earth Sciences

Donuts, math, and superdense teleportation of quantum information

29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>