Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Department

Adult Education, Human Resources Development

First Advisor's Name

Tonette S. Rocco

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Thomas Reio

Third Advisor's Name

Ann Nevin

Fourth Advisor's Name

H. Virginia McCoy

Keywords

Tuberculosis, Medication Adherence, Spirituality

Date of Defense

7-26-2010

Abstract

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease and nonadherence to medication can lead to new cases, multi-drug resistant TB, or potential death. Additionally, healthcare professionals and individuals with TB’s knowledge of the disease and medication adherence are crucial for successful completion of medication therapy. Patient education is one of the most important aspects of care provided in healthcare settings (CDC, 1994). TB tends to disproportionally affect minority and economically disadvantaged patient populations. The purpose of this mixed method study was to explore the relationship between spirituality, knowledge, and TB medication adherence among African Americans and Haitians. The primary research question was: What is the relationship between spirituality, knowledge and TB medication adherence among African Americans and Haitians? Quantitative data were gathered from 33 questionnaires and analyzed by two ANOVAs and four chi square analyses. The null hypothesis was not rejected; there was not a statistically significant relationship between spirituality and TB medication adherence (p =.208) among the study’s African Americans and Haitians. Qualitative data concerning participants’ knowledge of TB, gathered from 16 individual interviews further informed this analysis. Secondary research questions examined the role of spirituality, knowledge of TB and medication adherence among African Americans and Haitians. Four common themes emerged across both groups to answer the secondary research questions. Interviews revealed the themes: (a) God is in control, (b) stigmatization of TB, (c) lack of knowledge, and (d) fear of death. The theme lack of knowledge about TB was found to contribute to stigmatization of TB patients. However, in this study stigma and lack of knowledge were related to initial denial of symptoms and delayed diagnosis, but not found to be related to TB medication adherence. This study could help adult educators and health educators enhance their educational interventions, develop a better understanding of adult learning, resulting in early diagnosis and treatment ultimately decreasing transmission of TB, drug resistance, and potential death. Educators should be aware that TB patients’ spirituality may be an important part of how they cope with having TB. A larger scale study, conducted at multiple locations should be conducted to extend the findings of this small scale exploratory study. Further studies should be done to better determine what patient, healthcare provider and health care system factors might mediate relationships that may exist between lack of knowledge of TB, stigma and TB medication adherence.

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