Megan K. Flaherty



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Hypertension is a relatively common chronic condition that affects approximately one in three Americans. Successful management and treatment often requires individuals to take antihypertensive medications regularly. However, non-adherence to varying levels and for different reasons is rather common. Untreated hypertension can lead to serious health consequences including heart attacks, heart disease, and kidney damage. Additionally, individuals without health insurance are more likely to have uncontrolled levels of high blood pressure than those with health insurance. It was predicted that increased perceptions of social support would be correlated with higher levels of antihypertensive medication adherence. 79 uninsured individuals with at least a 3-month history of hypertension were recruited for this study from an urban free medical clinic located in a midsize Midwestern city. Participants completed survey measures to assess demographics, medication adherence, perceptions of social support from family and friends, and perceptions of social support from the clinic. Single interval compliance was also calculated from prescription claims data as an additional measure of medication adherence. Correlational analyses did not support the major hypothesis that higher perceptions of social support would be associated with better medication adherence. Future research might continue to evaluate additional aspects of social support and other factors that might be associated with medication adherence.

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Honors Thesis

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Keri J. B. Kirschman

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An Examination of the Relationship Between Perceived Social Support and Medication Adherence in Uninsured Patients with Hypertension