Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Angela Liegey Dougall

Second Advisor

Robert Gatchel


There has been a dearth of information that explains group beliefs about chronic diseases. The overall aim of this study was to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand consensus in illness beliefs among diabetic and hypertensive patients. The cultural consensus and common-sense model of self-regulation were used to provide a theoretical framework for the findings. Older diabetic and hypertensive adults recruited from the community took part in a semi-structured interview and answered questionnaires. Results indicated that all participants shared a single cultural belief regarding these chronic illnesses. Contrary to expectations, there were no differences in cohesive beliefs between members of different socioeconomic statuses in each illness condition, nor were there differences between the two conditions. Qualitative data revealed that diabetic and hypertensive participants spent most of the interviews discussing their medical treatments; subjects focused on their prescribed medications as well as their diet and exercise regimes (or lack thereof). Many of the interviews also focused on the complications and symptoms that the participants experienced or had heard about, and only a small number of the interviews focused on the actual causes of their conditions. These results highlight the lived experience of the participants, focusing primarily on their daily actions and the consequences of having a chronic illness. In conclusion, via the qualitative data, the current study was able to shed light on participants’ beliefs and experiences of having a chronic condition, furthering research in this area. Future directions should focus on other factors, such as level of education, which may better explain differences in cultural beliefs among diabetic and hypertensive patients.


Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, Cultural Consensus Analysis


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons