Stroke among African-Caribbean women: Lay beliefs of risks and causes

Calvin R. Moorley*, Sharon Cahill, Nova Corcoran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and Objectives: To investigate African Caribbean women's subjective accounts of stroke and how this impacted on their lives and identify beliefs attributed to the causes of stroke in this post stroke. 

Background: In the UK, those from African or African Caribbean ethnicity are at an increased risk of stroke, and stroke risks are double that of the UK White population. This is because diabetes and hypertension are more common in those of African and African Caribbean ethnic groups. The main risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, alongside obesity and overweight, poor diet and lack of physical activity. 

Design: A qualitative study using interpretative phenomenological analysis. 

Methods: Data were collected via semi-structured indepth interviews for six African Caribbean women. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to deconstruct the data and facilitate developing themes. 

Results: Six semi-structured interviews were completed with women aged 47-85 years. Two themes emerged (1) the role of lifestyle and biological risk factors linked to the causes of stroke and (2) the role of spirituality, in identifying the lay beliefs and causes of stroke. 

Conclusion: Alternative explanations of the causes of stroke that include witchcraft, or wishing someone wrong suggests a lack of perceived control over stroke. This may suggest a focus on less visible risk factors such as hypertension, familial history or diabetes and will need inclusion in health promotion materials. Lay beliefs such as witchcraft can co-exist amicably alongside modern medicine, as long as they do not hinder access to medication, treatment or risk factor management of stroke. 

Relevance to clinical practice: The results demonstrated that nursing care and health promotion materials should emphasise on obesity, overweight and management of these through diet and physical activity to prevent stroke occurring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • African Caribbean women
  • Culture
  • Health promotion
  • Spirituality
  • Stroke
  • Stroke causes
  • Stroke risks


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