School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Gilbert Ernest Franco


motivation, adherence, resilience, self-efficacy, cardiac disease




Motivation plays an important role in treatment adherence, as patients should make necessary health behavior changes based on their physician’s recommendations. Self-efficacy and resilience can help/hinder the patient from implementing and maintaining these changes. Previous studies concluded that individuals cannot rely on medication alone and must implement healthy lifestyle changes. However, these changes may be difficult, as the individuals may face physical or emotional barriers. Therefore, it is important to analyze the factors that motivate an individual to overcome these challenges and follow the recommended treatment plan. This qualitative study examined four participants age x-y through in-depth interviews. Three participants, had high blood pressure and one had a history of a heart attack, as well as coronary heart disease. The results indicated that most participants were not successful in implementing dietary and exercise changes as they prioritized work and family over their health. The one participant who was most successful in following dietary and exercise changes was the one who had a more severe health threat: having a heart attack. Participants mentioned the following strategies helped them to make healthy choices: modifying their diet and exercise plans to accommodate their work and family responsibilities, receiving emotional support from friends and family, receiving practical support (work-out buddy, family members making changes with them), experiencing a health behavior change-related reduction in cardiac symptoms, and being mindful of the fear of the disease getting worse. Future work is needed to help identify factors that can assist heart patients to increase both motivation and self-efficacy beliefs to make dietary and exercise changes.

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