Hypertension -- Florida, Patient compliance -- Florida, Rural women -- Florida, Women, White -- Florida


Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Elevated blood pressure is often a silent process affecting multiple organ systems. Risk for heart disease is associated with poorly treated or unrecognized hypertension that is more common among women than men. Non-adherence to prescribed treatment regimens has been identified as a major reason for inadequate hypertension management. This exploratory descriptive qualitative study using narrative inquiry investigated adherence practices among Caucasian women with diagnoses of hypertension from a rural area of Florida. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding from women who had been diagnosed with hypertension about the challenges of living with and managing this chronic condition in their daily lives. Participants included Caucasian women (n = 11) recruited from a Federally Qualified Rural Health Center in Florida. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. Content analysis procedures were used to analyze the interviews. Emergent themes included: work stress affecting health and leading to high blood pressure; silent ―sneaky, gradual‖ onset of mild to moderate symptoms leading to high blood pressure; and strong influence of family members with high blood pressure and related complications that instilled fear in participants to adhere to their prescribed treatment plan in some, or in others to non-adherence. Social support from friends and coworkers was a repeated theme supporting adherence. Minor themes associated with non-adherence included fear of potential side effects of medications, challenges of daily living caring for family, fatigue from high blood pressure and medications affecting daily work, poor food choices due to finances and availability of high sodium and fatty foods at work and home, stress and time demands affecting iv ability to exercise to control high blood pressure, and focus on family forgetting self-needs. Limitations of the study included a small convenience sample with findings that may not be applicable to a population of hypertensive women from different rural settings. Future nursing studies in similar populations may contribute to improved adherence practices, leading to reduced complications from poorly controlled hypertension.


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Graduation Date





Bushy, Angeline


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Nursing



Degree Program









Release Date

December 2012

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Nursing, Nursing -- Dissertations, Academic

Restricted to the UCF community until December 2012; it will then be open access.

Included in

Nursing Commons