Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Egondu Onyejekwe


High blood pressure (hypertension) is known to be one of the leading factors that directly contributes to heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third leading causes of disabilities and death in the general U.S. population. The prevalence of high blood pressure among African American men in the United States ranks as one of the highest in the world. Research indicates the roots of this phenomenon are found in physiological, psychosocial, cultural, and socioeconomic factors differentially affecting the African American population. The purpose of this study was to examine the interaction between African American males' masculine perspective and the lifestyle and clinical dictates essential to self-management of hypertension. This qualitative study used social cognitive theory and health service utilization as its theoretical foundation. The research questions that guided the thematic analysis of the qualitative interview data centered on psychosocial/risk factors, sustaining self-management, and common themes gathered from individual interviews with ten African American men ages 40-65 years with a medical diagnosis of hypertension. Responses were transcribed, and data were analysed by using NVivo 10 to identify reoccurring themes. The dominant themes were perceptions of discrimination, lack of trust and miscommunication with providers, and self-care behaviors associated with masculine identity. The results of the study did not necessarily present new findings but support that efforts are needed by professionals to craft innovative approaches to education and support for African American males with chronic diseases. This study influences positive social change by helping health providers grasp a better understanding of how African American males' views of masculinity and race influence hypertension-related behaviors.