Successful blood pressure (BP) control requires good adherence to medication and specific health-related behaviors. However, the BP control rate is not optimal, and limited research has focused on the patient's perspective. This study aimed at investigating the illness perceptions of hypertensive patients and how they relate to drug adherence. One hundred and seventeen hypertensive patients enrolled in this study, and data were collected in a family physician clinic of a medical center located in northern Taiwan. The Illness Perception Questionnaire was administered, and medication adherence and demographic data were also collected. Results showed the patients' perceptions of their hypertension, that it was a chronically severe but stable disease, and the patients were confident in the effectiveness of medical treatments and their ability to control their disease. The participants were divided into three clusters by cluster analysis. There were 46.15% participants in the first cluster; they had less negative belief in their illness consequence and less negative emotional responses, but a low personal sense of control. The second cluster (11.97%) had more negative emotional responses and more negative beliefs in their illness consequence, but these individuals scored highly on their personal sense of control and treatment control beliefs. The third cluster (41.88%) had scores between clusters 1 and 2. Cluster 1 had the best drug adherence, and cluster 2 had the worst drug adherence (χ(2) = 7.67, p < 0.05). It may be beneficial for clinical physicians to pay attention to patients' illness perceptions, including their negative emotional response and symptoms, in order to improve their drug adherence.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B.V.