quality of life
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract If patients notoriously violate treatment regimens known to effectively control hypertension, then there must be some subjective costs associated with adherence to these regimens. Generally speaking, there must be some reduction in quality of life associated with antihypertensive medication. Unfortunately the concept of quality of life, due to its lack of specificity, is of little help in further investigating the nature of these subjective costs. We developed a simple neuropsychophysiological model based on fundamental psychological and physiological processes: corticoinhibitory effects of phasic blood pressure elevation reduce the aversive or painful qualities of many stressors. This negative reinforcement increases the rate of the reinforced physiological behavior, i.e., phasic analgesic blood pressure increases. Such negatively reinforced operant behavior is known to be extremely resistant to extinction. Counter actions such as taking antihypertensive medication not only lead to reduced quality of life due to their cancellation of the analgesic effect of conditioned blood pressure increase, but also lead to some form of reluctance to comply with treatment. The model not only provides an innovative etiological path to the emergence of neurogenic essential hypertension, but also yields a highly specific and “lean” concept of quality of life. Furthermore, it supplies the health care community with a concise explanation for the well-known low compliance of patients with their antihypertensive regimens. In addition to its parsimony, the model fits well with various experimental findings and has been operationalized and tested empirically. Specific therapeutic implications can be derived.
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