Gender Differences in the Self-Regulation of Hypertension

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The theory of planned behavior was adapted and revised to explain efforts made by patients to regulate their hypertension. A test of this theory of self-regulation revealed significant differences between men (N = 105) and women (N = 102) in their decision making and goal pursuit activities. For men, attitude toward success had both direct and indirect (through desire and intentions) effects on efforts to regulate hypertension. Attitudes had no influence on effort for women. Perceived behavioral control had both direct and indirect (through desire and intentions) effects on effort for men but no effects for women. Intentions influenced effort for men but not women. In contrast, perceived subjective norms had direct effects on effort for women but not for men. Effort was found also to be a function of past efforts at trying to regulate hypertension for both men and women. The study results confirm the existence of differences in the manner in which men and women perceive health maintenance. Additionally, the theory of self-regulation was found to serve as a useful framework in understanding the role of goal-setting and goal-striving in the management of chronic conditions.

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