Korean J Adult Nurs.  2020 Apr;32(2):124-133. 10.7475/kjan.2020.32.2.124.

Psychological Resistance to Drug Therapy in Patients with Hypertension: A Qualitative Thematic Analysis

  • 1Professor, College of Nursing, Dong-A University, Busan, Korea
  • 2Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, Dongju College, Busan, Korea


To explore the nature of psychological resistance to the initiation of antihypertensive medication.
Participants were 13 adults with hypertension who were refusing or had refused to take antihypertensive drugs from July 2016 to October 2016. The data were collected through face-to-face in-depth interviews, and analyzed according to Braun and Clarke’s 6 steps of thematic analysis.
Analysis of the psychological resistance experience to drug therapy in hypertensive patients resulted in 5 themes and 10 sub-themes from a total of 42 free codes. Participants were “holding out as much as possible without medication” without taking antihypertensive drugs due to “psychological opposition to starting treatment” and “situational barriers related to medication”. However, they were “coming to grips with reality” that they were not taking medication but would take it someday, and they gained “momentum for change” to start taking it.
The 5 themes derived from the data analysis of the experiences of 13 participants are interrelated and suggest the direction of intervention to lower psychological resistance. In particular, we propose the development of an intervention to assist patients in self-decision regarding taking antihypertensive medication. Additional research into the role of medical staff in lowering the psychological resistance of young hypertensive patients is needed.


Hypertension; Patient compliance; Treatment refusal; Qualitative research
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