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Soc Sci Med. 1996 Sep;43(6):903-17.

The effects of health and treatment perceptions on the use of prescribed medication and home remedies among African American and white American hypertensives.

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  • 1College of Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin 78712-1074, USA.


This study examines the relationships between health beliefs and the use of both prescribed medication and home remedies among a group of African American and White American hypertensives. Data were collected via telephone interviews with 300 individuals who had been medically diagnosed as having hypertension and had been prescribed at least one antihypertensive medication. Using the health belief model (HBM) as the theoretical framework, 4 primary hypotheses involving the perceptions of severity, susceptibility, benefits and costs of each treatment and compliance with prescribed mediation (Rx) and use of home remedies (HR) were tested. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that age, costs of Rx and benefits of HR predicted compliance with Rx. The primary predictors of use of HR were ethnicity, poverty status, education, severity, benefits and costs of HR. The differences in predictor variables for each treatment behavior are discussed and speculations about the nature and importance of these differences are offered. Study findings support the suggestion that patient beliefs about their disease and their evaluations of treatment options should be considered when developing therapeutic plans and when monitoring patient outcomes.

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