Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Eileen Fowles


Conducting an Assessment for Hypertension

in African American College Students


Frances E. Montague

MS, Hampton University, 1985

BS, Hampton University, 1979

Project Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Walden University

February 2017


Hypertension (HTN) in African American (AA) young adults is diagnosed, treated, and controlled at a lower rate than it is among older AA adults and Caucasians. Untreated high blood pressure (BP) can progress to pre-HTN, HTN, and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Guided by Pender's health promotion model, this project sought to identify modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for pre-HTN and HTN in AA students at a historically black university. In this quantitative study, 115 students completed a questionnaire regarding personal and family medical history and health behaviors, and had their height, weight, BP and heart rate measured by a nurse. The data were summarized descriptively using frequencies and percentages and revealed that, while 81% of the students presumed that their BP was normal, 45% had a BP reading that indicated pre-HTN and 5% had a BP reading that indicated HTN. Some students had nonmodifiable risk factors: 62% reported a family history of HTN and 5% reported a personal history of HTN. Ten percent of students smoked, 44% were not physically active daily, and 62% were overweight/obese. These are modifiable behaviors and risk factors that can be altered with lifestyle changes. The rate of behavioral risks, whether personal or familial, could predispose the AA college student to HTN later in life. This project has the potential to produce positive social change by providing a guide to nurses working in student health services departments in developing educational programs designed to promote general health and prevent HTN. These programs can help reduce AA students' rates of mortality and morbidity in later life.

Included in

Nursing Commons