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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 177-183

Conceptualizing hypertension: A developmental trend in school children

Center for Health Psychology, University of Hyderabad, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Central University Campus, Prof. C. R. Rao Road, Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Meena Hariharan
Centre for Health Psychology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Central University Campus, Prof. C. R. Rao Road, Gachibowli, Hyderabad - 500 046, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_156_17

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INTRODUCTION: The exponential rise in the prevalence of hypertension signals the urgent need to focus the attention on hypertension prevention and management strategies for the vulnerable groups. OBJECTIVE: The objectives of the study were to explore children's conceptualization of hypertension and to track its changes in complexity or divergence along classes. METHODS: A mixed methods approach combining qualitative and quantitative techniques was adopted. A total of 776 students of 6th to 12th standard from the schools catering to the need of lower socioeconomic status were recruited. A simple tool with a single open-ended question – “What do you know about hypertension/high blood pressure?” was administered. The responses were coded appropriately and content analyses of the responses were carried out following thematic method. RESULTS: Four broad themes, namely, definition, causes, consequences, and management of hypertension emerged out of content analyses. About 22.57% of responses indicated misconceptions on hypertension. Children's understanding of hypertension, in general, was found to be inadequate. A new method of measuring the conceptual complexity of responses of each class by computing “entropy” values, or “divergent index” indicated progressive increase in complexity of conceptualizing hypertension across classes. CONCLUSION: The need for enhancing children's knowledge of hypertension through curriculum and public health programs is emphasized in view of children constituting the vulnerable group with reference to future projections

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