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Accustomed to enduring: Experiences of African-American women seeking care for cardiac symptoms

Authors
Journal
Heart & Lung The Journal of Acute and Critical Care
0147-9563
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
34
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2004.08.001
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Objective Understand the meaning of delayed treatment seeking in African-American women with unstable angina and myocardial infarction. Methods Phenomenologic analysis of in-depth interview data and field notes on 12 African-American women hospitalized with unstable angina or myocardial infarction. Results Women’s interpretation of and response to symptoms were informed by experiences of marginalization and their self-understanding as people who were strong and who had endured life’s hardships. When hospitalized, some women experienced trivialization of their complaints by clinicians and a focus on technological procedures over respectfully attending to their concerns, which provided further disincentives to seeking care. Three major themes emerged: misrecognition and discounting of symptoms, enduring, and influence of faith. Conclusions Experiences of marginalization shape responses to symptoms, care-seeking behavior, and interpretation of subsequent care experiences for African-American women with cardiac disease, who may experience different symptoms as well as interpret them differently than members of other groups.

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