Using Values Affirmation to Reduce the Effects of Stereotype Threat on Hypertension Disparities: Protocol for the Multicenter Randomized Hypertension and Values (HYVALUE) Trial

Daugherty, Stacie L.; Vupputuri, Suma; Hanratty, Rebecca; Steiner, John F.; Maertens, Julie A.; Blair, Irene V.; Dickinson, L. Miriam; Helmkamp, Laura; Havranek, Edward P.
JMIR Research Protocols

Background: Medication nonadherence is a significant, modifiable contributor to uncontrolled hypertension. Stereotype threat may contribute to racial disparities in adherence by hindering a patient’s ability to actively engage during a clinical encounter, resulting in reduced activation to adhere to prescribed therapies. Objective: The Hypertension and Values (HYVALUE) trial aims to examine whether a values-affirmation intervention improves medication adherence (primary outcome) by targeting racial stereotype threat. Methods: The HYVALUE trial is a patient-level, blinded randomized controlled trial comparing a brief values-affirmation writing exercise with a control writing exercise among black and white patients with uncontrolled hypertension. We are recruiting patients from 3 large health systems in the United States. The primary outcome is patients’ adherence to antihypertensive medications, with secondary outcomes of systolic and diastolic blood pressure over time, time for which blood pressure is under control, and treatment intensification. We are comparing the effects of the intervention among blacks and whites, exploring possible moderators (ie, patients’ prior experiences of discrimination and clinician racial bias) and mediators (ie, patient activation) of intervention effects on outcomes. Results: This study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Enrollment and follow-up are ongoing and data analysis is expected to begin in late 2020. Planned enrollment is 1130 patients. On the basis of evidence supporting the effectiveness of values affirmation in educational settings and our pilot work demonstrating improved patient-clinician communication, we hypothesize that values affirmation disrupts the negative effects of stereotype threat on the clinical interaction and can reduce racial disparities in medication adherence and subsequent health outcomes. Conclusions: The HYVALUE study moves beyond documentation of race-based health disparities toward testing an intervention. We focus on a medical condition—hypertension, which is arguably the greatest contributor to mortality disparities for black patients. If successful, this study will be the first to provide evidence for a low-resource intervention that has the potential to substantially reduce health care disparities across a wide range of health care conditions and populations. Trial Registration: NCT03028597; (Archived by WebCite at International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/12498