Abstract 11719: “I Have to Live Like I’m Old” - Young Adults’ Perspectives on Managing Hypertension: A Multi-Center Qualitative Study
Introduction: In the U.S., young adults (18-39 year-olds) have the lowest hypertension control rates among hypertensive adults. The objectives of this multi-center study were to explore young adults’: 1) experiences receiving a hypertension diagnosis, 2) attitudes and beliefs about self-management and antihypertensive medication, and 3) opinions about their healthcare system’s hypertension education materials.
Methods: Young adults (18-39 year-olds) with a known diagnosis of hypertension were recruited by the Wisconsin Research and Education Network. Two focus groups (one per age range: 18-29 years, 30-39 years) were conducted in three Midwestern practices (academic, rural, and urban clinics). Content analysis was performed.
Results: In total, 35 young adults (mean: 30 [5.2] years old, 65% female, 47% Black, 45% with at least 1 year of college) identified barriers to managing hypertension. Emergent themes overlapped across ages and geographic regions. A majority of respondents were surprised and angry about a hypertension diagnosis; they expected to develop hypertension, but at a much older age. A hypertension diagnosis altered their “young” self-identity. Suggested behavior changes and antihypertensive medications made them feel “older” in health status. Young adults requested more resources for blood pressure self-monitoring to provide greater autonomy. Contrary to our hypothesis, most young adults disliked using social media or text messaging to support self-management; electronic patient portals were considered more personal, decreasing the risk of peers seeing their hypertension communications. Current hypertension education materials were described as not addressing young adults’ health questions; focus group respondents provided topics of interest.
Conclusions: Targeting interventions to young adults’ unique needs are important next steps to improve healthcare delivery and hypertension control for young adults.
Author Disclosures: H.M. Johnson: Research Grant; Significant; NIH/NHLBI. R. Warner: None. J. LaMantia: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.