Date of Award

Fall 12-12-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Cecelia G. Grindel

Second Advisor

Dr. Dee M. Baldwin

Third Advisor

Dr. Frances McCarty


Disparities in medication adherence (MA) associated with African American (AA) adults may be related to a dynamic interplay between personal factors, behavioral capability, and environmental factors. The purpose of the study was to examine this relationship in AA adults with metabolic syndrome (MetS). A cross-sectional, correlational analysis was conducted from baseline data from a larger intervention study. Constructs from the Social Cognitive Theory were used to predict MA. The sample of 91 AA adults with MetS was primarily middle-aged (age range 45-70 years old; M 53, SD 6.3), female (79%), relatively well-educated, and married. Despite being on antihypertensive medications, 53% of the participants presented with uncontrolled high blood pressure (≥130/90 mmHg). Although the vast majority (95%) of the sample displayed adequate health literacy (HL), 30% of the sample was non-adherent to their medication regimen. A positive significant relationship was found between age and MA [χ2 (1, n = 90) = 6.71, p = .01)]. Stress [χ2 (1, n = 90) = 6.28, p = .012)] and social support (SS) [χ2 (1, n = 90) = 4.10, p = .04)] were the only significant relationships among environmental factors, barriers and hypertension MA. Highly stressed AA adults were significantly more likely to be non-adherent or had a 15% reduction in the odds of hypertension MA. Similarly, adults with a low income were 5.8 times more likely to be non-adherent (OR 5.828, 95% CI, 1.014-33.493, p= .0482), while those with low SS had a 9% reduction in the odds of MA; SS trended toward significance (OR.914. 95% CI .823-1.016, p =.09). With increasing age, AA adults were more likely to be non-adherent (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.028-1.220, p =.0096). Most of the participants reported a high degree of autonomy, satisfaction with their health care climate, and the availability of SS. Although increasing age, adequate SS, high stress, and adequate HL appeared to influence MA in AA adults with MetS, the research questions were only partially answered. Further investigation of the relationships and potential mediating pathways between personal characteristics, environmental factors, behavioral capability and hypertension MA in AA adults with MetS is needed.

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Nursing Commons