Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Clinical Psychology

Committee Chair

Frank Andrasik

Committee Member

Robert Neimeyer

Committee Member

James Murphy

Committee Member

George Relyea


Approximately 70-80 million people in the US have hypertension. Left untreated, it can lead to heart disease and stroke, the 1st and 2ND leading causes of death in the US, respectively. African Americans (AA) are at particular risk for developing hypertension and, when present, they experience increased morbidity and mortality, in comparison to other races, as well as elevated risk of psychological distress. Further, when treated with the prevailing approaches, AAs experience more adverse side effects and often face a greater number of challenges with adherence. Despite some successful efforts at reducing high BP in general hypertensive populations, AAs continue to struggle greatly with this condition. The primary purpose of this research was to test the utility of the RESPeRATE, a home-based biofeedback device approved for treatment of hypertension, in augmenting care of AAs currently receiving medical treatment but who were not responding at an optimal level. A secondary aim of this study was to examine the impact of treatment on psychological effects of individuals with hypertension. This was accomplished in a small-scale pilot investigation comparing those continuing on their current treatment, or Treatment as Usual (TAU), to those continuing TAU + the addition of the RESPeRATE device. Multiple measures were collected at baseline, immediate post-treatment, and follow ups at 3 and 6 months. In addition to ongoing assessments of BP, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the Quality of Life Questionnaire (QoL) were collected for 2 purposes: as potential predictors of treatment response and to track collateral improvements over time. Gender, specifically being female, significantly predicted reductions in systolic blood pressure at the end of the intervention (β=8.34, SE=.66, t(28)=12.63, p<.001). Similarly, age significantly predicted successful reductions in systolic BP at the end of the intervention β=-.26, SE=.04, t(28)=.6.52, p<.001.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.