Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science

Dissertation Committee

Mary P. Quayhagen, DNSc, RN, Chairperson; Rosemary T. Goodyear, EdD, RN; Becky DeVillier, DNSc, RN


Coping mechanism, demographics, Hypertension, nursing, Social psychology, Stress management


The purpose of this study was to describe and explain the impact of demographic variables (age, educational level, time since diagnosis) and subsequent psychosocial variables (perceived stress, ways of coping, professional support, and social support) on adherence and, ultimately, on health status (blood pressure, psychological symptoms, and subjective health) in patients with essential hypertension whose health care was managed by a nurse. Because nurses manage the therapeutic regimens of these patients, it is necessary to identify those factors that influence adherence and thus the health of hypertensive individuals. The transactional framework of stress, appraisal, and coping of Lazarus and Folkman (1984) was used for this study. A literature review supported the hypothesized linkages between the variables. The correlational design chosen for the study resulted in a temporally ordered causal recursive model. The recruited sample of 95 adult subjects was solicited from the patients of nurses who manage the therapeutic regimens of hypertensive patients in outpatient settings. Data were collected by chart review and subjects' answers on multiple questionnaires. Descriptive statistics were used to define the sample. Correlational and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Data analysis resulted in the development of four path analytic models. Predictor variables explained 23% of the variance in systolic blood pressure; 14% of the variance in diastolic blood pressure; 23% of the variance in health perceptions; and, 44% of the variance in psychological symptoms. The strongest predictors of systolic blood pressure were age, time since diagnosis coping, adherence to a low sodium diet, and professional support. The strongest predictors of diastolic blood pressure were age, time since diagnosis, coping, and adherence to medications. The strongest predictors of health perceptions were ways of coping. Perceived stress was the strongest predictor of psychological symptoms. There were no differences when the results in the outcome variables were compared by sex and education. A comparison of the results by age showed a difference only in systolic blood pressure between pre-retirement and post-retirement groups.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons