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Psychological methods to improve non-adherence and hypertension patient outcomes

Study of the psychological reasons for non-adherence and methods to improve them – a focus on multi-ethnicity

What we are doing?

We are conducting a feasibility study looking into the use of biofeedback as an intervention for patients with hypertension, multiple drug intolerances and anxiety. In brief, biofeedback is an intervention where individuals can be taught to control their physiology by receiving feedback through a device or screen and understanding how to change it. There will be a control group who receive normal medical care and the experimental group will undergo the biofeedback intervention. The outcomes will look at changes in blood pressure and psychological wellbeing. We will have a 12-month follow-up to assess the long-term effects.

Why we are doing it?

Hypertension is a serious condition that can have significant consequences. If left untreated, it can lead to complications such as stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. Hypertension is usually treated with medication, but this is commonly associated with issues such as side effects, poly-pharmacy and non-adherence.

Biofeedback provides a non-pharmacological treatment that can be used to support patients improve their hypertension. Research has demonstrated the benefits of biofeedback in conditions such as headaches. However, findings have been less clear within hypertension, thus we are conducting a feasibility study to see if it is an efficacious intervention within our population group.

What the benefits will be and to whom?

This research will benefit both the NHS and patients. Developing a non-pharmacological intervention that can reduce hypertension will have a significant impact on the financial and physical resources required by the NHS to treat hypertension which, in 2014, was estimated to cost £2 billion each year.

Additionally, providing a non-pharmacological therapy to patients will benefit those who experience side effects or difficulties taking medication, contributing to improved health outcomes through controlling hypertension. Biofeedback also has the potential to improve the psychological wellbeing of patients who experience anxiety and could be used to inform practice in the care of other conditions.

Who we are working with?

This research project will work with both the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. We will recruit participants through clinics running within the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.


Sian Jenkins, PhD student, University of Leicester,