Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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hypertension awareness, COVID-19, Black college students
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Black college students are at an increased risk of developing hypertension resulting from their race, ethnicity, family history, and added stressors of college life. Hypertension is a risk factor for COVID-19 disease severity hence the need to investigate its impact on hypertension risk factors. The purpose of this mixed-methods explanatory study was to understand the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on hypertension awareness among Black college students.
A cross-sectional, online survey was conducted to study the effect of knowledge, attitudes, and practices on hypertension risk factors among Black college students (Aim 1). The mean hypertension knowledge score was 7.54 (SD = 2.22) from a total of 14. Age was significantly associated with hypertension knowledge (p = .008) and hypertension practices (p = .001). Graduate students' knowledge was significantly higher than all other education levels (p = .000).
Focus group interviews were conducted to understand the unique experiences of Black college students during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic (Aim 2). Data for this aim were organized into three categories and subthemes: (1) the influence of COVID-19 on daily life, (2) the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on hypertension risk factors, and (3) the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on hypertension preventative behaviors.
Surveys and focus group interviews were conducted to investigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on hypertension awareness among Black college students (Aim 3). Over half, 53.4%, expressed no increase in blood pressure monitoring since the pandemic. Although COVID-19 had little effect on their hypertension preventative behaviors or blood pressure monitoring, students discussed how the pandemic changed lifestyle behaviors, increasing their risk for hypertension development. Over half, 67.1%, agreed that hypertension leads to worse COVID-19 health outcomes and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, infections, longer recoveries, and even death as consequences of COVID-19 on hypertensive patients.
Findings can be used by colleges and universities in designing programs to inform and increase knowledge on hypertension among susceptible Black college students, while also devising comprehensive plans to address the detriment the COVID- 19 pandemic has taken on students as their physical and mental health and academic performance depend on it.
Brown, Talegria, ""I Got to Be Healthy for Me Beyond COVID": The Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Hypertension Prevention among Black College Students: A Mixed Methods Study" (2022). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5053.
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