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Patients with recently diagnosed hypertension described risk in terms of acceptance and denial narratives, which served as personal frameworks of coping

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Q How do people with newly diagnosed hypertension think about risk?

DESIGN

Qualitative study.

SETTING

2 general practices in the UK.

PATIENTS

11 patients (6 men and 5 women, 41–82 y of age) who were diagnosed with hypertension in the previous 6 months.

METHODS

Patients participated in 30–45 minute interviews that explored perceptions of risk in general, risk to health, and risk in the context of the new diagnosis of hypertension. Interviews were recorded and analysed using constant comparative methods. Patterns and discontinuities were identified from participants’ use of language to describe risk. The “risk” narratives that emerged were then examined for conformity and variation.

MAIN FINDINGS

The personal narratives of individuals provided an understanding about how participants described risk. Individuals presented a coherent personal position about risk in general or in relation to the diagnosis of hypertension. 2 main types of narratives were noted: denial narratives and acceptance narratives. These narratives served as personal frameworks for dealing with risk.

In denial narratives, participants described …

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