The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the perceptions of rural men and women, ages 50 to 70 years, regarding barriers to health promotion in the treatment of a chronic disease entity – hypertension Orem's constructs of self-care provided the theoretical framework for the study Specific study aims were to (a) identify health belief/values, (b) assess perceptions of self-care abilities, (c) determine relative risk through health appraisal, and (d) describe phenomenological perceived barriers to health promotion as a lived experience Major findings indicated no relationship between health beliefs/values and self-care The health value scores of females for all four subscales were somewhat higher than the scores for males Average, appraised and achievable ages for relative risk of dying from all causes were significant for men Phenomenological themes revealed diet, weight and medication usage to be two factors associated with perceived barriers Small sample size and voluntary participation limited generalization Nursing implications included the need for (a) greater assessment of the influence of perceived barriers, (b) better approaches to health teaching, and (c) more appropriate design of educative–supportive nursing interventions for facilitating client self-care