A web-based self-care program to promote healthy lifestyles and control blood pressure in patients with primary hypertension: A randomized controlled trial

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2022 Nov;54(6):678-691. doi: 10.1111/jnu.12792. Epub 2022 Jun 8.


Background: Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, which contributes to the worldwide mortality rate. Successful blood pressure control requires adherence to medications and lifestyle modifications. However, motivating patients with primary hypertension to change and sustain behaviors long-term is challenging. A web-based self-care program centered on self-efficacy theory could provide feedback for effective control of blood pressure.

Purpose: To examine the effect of a web-based self-care program for patients with primary hypertension on cardiovascular risk-factors (pulse pressure and lipids), self-efficacy, and self-care behaviors (medication adherence and lifestyle).

Design: A two-armed randomized controlled trial with 3-month and 6-month follow-ups.

Setting and participants: A total of 222 patients with primary hypertension were recruited between February 2017 and August 2018 at a cardiology clinic of a medical center in Taipei, Taiwan.

Methods: Eligible patients were randomized by permuted block randomization into the intervention group (n = 111) and control group (n = 111). Patients in the intervention group received a 6-month web-based self-care program, based on the theory of self-efficacy, while patients in the control group received usual care. Baseline and outcome measures (3 and 6 months) included self-efficacy, evaluated with the Chinese version of the 6-item Self-Efficacy for Managing Chronic Diseases (SEMC6), self-care, using subscales of the Hypertension Self-Care Activity Level Effects Scale (H-SCALE) for lifestyle and medication adherence, and blood pressure and serum lipid data, collected through web-based self-reports and chart review. Generalized estimating equations evaluated the effects of the intervention.

Findings: At baseline, the control group had higher scores on the SEMC6, and lower cholesterol (HDL) compared with the intervention group (t = -2.70, p < 0.05; and t = 1.76, p < 0.05, respectively). Pulse pressure decreased significantly (β = -20.30, 95% CI -23.76, -16.83), and serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were significantly lower compared with controls at 6 months (all p < 0.001). At 6 months, the intervention group had significantly higher mean scores for the SEMC6 compared with the control group (β = 21.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] 19.25, 24.42) and H-SCALE subscale for medication adherence, diet, weight management, and physical activity compared with controls at 6 months (all, p < 0.001).

Conclusions and clinical relevance: The greatest benefit of this program was allowing participants to immediately consult with the researchers about self-care issues via the website. Lifestyles vary from person to person; therefore, the individuality of each participant was considered when providing feedback. We provided devising interventions for participants that would increase their confidence in self-care for hypertension and ultimately achieve home blood pressure control. We encourage incorporating this program into standard clinical care for patients with hypertension.

Keywords: diet; hypertension; physical activity; self-care; self-efficacy; web-based; weight management.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / therapy
  • Internet
  • Self Care*