The Conceptualization of Health among Filipino-Americans with Hypertension

Monday, 7 July 2008: 10:50 AM
Carmen B. Toledo Galang, DNSC, RN , Department of Nursing, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Felicitas De La Cruz, DNSC, RN, FAANP , Scool of Nursing, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA

Learning Objective 1: Discuss the impact of culture on managing hypertension among Filipino Americans

Learning Objective 2: Describe factors associated with health effects of acculturation

Epidemiological data in California show that the rate of uncontrolled hypertension (HTN) among Filipino Americans (FAs) approach the rate of African Americans. Although FAs are the second largest Asian group in the U.S., very little is known about their conceptualization of health and the health effects of their U.S. migration.

This descriptive exploratory study elicited their conceptualization of health including the health effects of their U.S. migration.

Two separate focus groups of men (n=10) and 2 groups of women (n=17) were conducted, using bilingual (English and Tagalog, the Philippine national language) male and female moderators, respectively. Each participant, diagnosed and treated for HTN at least 12 months prior to the study, completed a socio-demographic form and A Short Acculturation Scale for Filipino Americans (ASASFA). Focus group interviews, using semi-structured questions, were tape-recorded, transcribed, coded and content analyzed for themes. To ensure trustworthiness of this qualitative study, member checks, peer debriefing, and an audit trail were implemented.

The participants (N=27) were all Philippine-born, with an average stay in the U.S. for 25 years. Their ages ranged from 42 to 73. Their ASASFA scores indicated that they were becoming bicultural. The participants conceptualized health in several cultural dimensions as well as holistically. They identified the change in their diet and physical activity patterns and the stress from varied sources that they experience as the health effects of their coming to the U.S.

In the context of HTN as a chronic illness that is asymptomatic, FA health conceptualization pose challenges for health care providers to convince diagnosed FAs to adhere to their antihypertensive medications. Likewise, the changes in their dietary and physical activity patterns in addition to the stress they encounter resulting from their migration to the U.S. require culturally-sensitive and appropriate health strategies to control their HTN.