Conocimientos de la hipertension: Health beliefs about hypertension in an under-resourced community in the Dominican Republic
Understanding health beliefs is important to facilitate health promotion and disease prevention as they influence health behaviors, outcomes, and disease management. Given the rise of hypertension-related diseases in the Dominican Republic, the purpose of our study was to identify hypertension-related health beliefs of Dominicans in order to inform the development of culturally appropriate interventions for hypertension prevention, care, and treatment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 Dominicans, 15 of whom were receiving treatment for hypertension. Operating within the interpretative paradigmatic framework, we conducted thematic analyses of interview data to identify hypertension-related health beliefs and practices. Iterative data analysis revealed the following themes: 1) Negative emotions are a primary cause of hypertension, 2) Medication is the best treatment but adherence is challenging, 3) Systemic barriers impede treatment access, 4) Hypertension negatively impacts mental and physical well-being, and 5) Lifestyle changes, relaxation, and social support help manage hypertension. Data gathered from member checking validated these findings. This study enhances understanding of the beliefs and experiences of Dominicans and emphasize the importance of implementing culturally competent health programming and care.