Puerto Rican Adolescents Striving to Live a Normal Life with HIV: A Grounded Theory
Puerto Rican HIV-Positive Adolescent
Committee ChairJones, Elaine
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAccording to the Puerto Rico Health Department as of January 2008, 258 cases of HIV, ages 10 -19 had been reported and 224 cases of AIDS, ages 13-19 (Puerto Rico Health Department, 2008). The purpose of this research was to describe the basic social processes of medication adherence in Puerto Rican youth who are HIV positive. Three research questions were proposed: 1) What are the basic social processes of medication adherence in Puerto Rican youth who are HIV- positive?; 2) What factors influence medication adherence (or nonadherence) among HIV- positive adolescents?; 3) What behaviors indicate that the HIV- positive adolescents adhere or do not adhere to their prescribed medications? The Autonomy Development of Adolescence by Steinberg provided the theoretical framework for this study. Grounded theory was used to study 13 Puerto Rican HIV-positive adolescents. Data collection included semi-structured, in-depth interviews, field notes, participant observation, and a demographic questionnaire. A substantive theory Striving to Live a Normal Life, with the core category of normal emerged from data analysis. Striving to Live a Normal Life explains how these Puerto Rican HIV-positive adolescents try to integrate their HIV status and treatment with their lives. These adolescents concentrate their lives on striving to live a normal life. A variety of ways is used to deal with HIV and has helped them visualize themselves as a normal adolescent with a normal life. Because they see themselves having a normal life, taking or not taking their medications for HIV is also seen as a normal part of their lives. This study suggests the beginning of understanding the concept and process of normalization in this population. These findings support the findings in a study done with HIV-positive adolescents from France in which the concept of normality was related to their lives. It also informs interventions to promote improved medication adherence among Puerto Rican youth who are HIV -positive.