Patient Educ Couns 2019 Apr 5. Epub 2019 Apr 5.
Department of Public Health, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Centres, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Objective: Hypertension (HTN) control is a major obstacle among sub-Saharan African populations partly due to poor self-management. We explored and compared how persons' social and physical context shapes their illness representations regarding HTN and the coping strategies they develop and adapt to mitigate challenges in self-managing HTN.
Methods: A cross sectional multisite qualitative study using semi-structured interviews among 55 Ghanaians with HTN living in The Netherlands and urban and rural Ghana. A thematic approach was used in data analysis.
Results: Family HTN history, personal experiences with HTN and outcomes of using biomedical and traditional treatments shaped participants' illness representations and coping strategies. Migrants and urban non-migrants modified medication schedules and integrated taking medication into daily routine activities to cope with experienced side effects of taking antihypertensive medication while rural non-migrants used traditional remedies and medicines to mitigate experienced medication side effects and/or in search for a cure for HTN.
Conclusion: Contextual factors within participants' social and physical environments shape their illness representations and coping strategies for HTN though interactive phrases.
Practice Implications: Health professionals should harness the relationships within peoples' social and physical environments, encourage implementation of family-wide behavioural changes and involve family and communities in HTN treatment to enhance patients' self-management of HTN.