Racism and hypertension among African Americans

Rosalind M Peters
Western Journal of Nursing Research 2004, 26 (6): 612-31
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of racism and blood pressure (BP). Participants were 162 urban African American adults. Measurements included the Racism and Life Experiences Scale, Krieger Racial Discrimination Questionnaire, State-Trait Personality Inventory (anxiety and depression), State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, and automated measures of BP. Correlational and multiple regression analyses were done to examine relationships among key variables, t tests and ANOVA tested group differences by age, gender, and racism category. There was a high prevalence of perceived racism, which was not associated with higher BP. The racism/BP relationship was moderated by age with significant age related differences noted. Older participants (40 years or older) experienced more distress from racism, more anger suppression, and higher BP but lower levels of stress emotions. The highest levels of BP were noted in older adults reporting the lowest level of perceived racism, raising the issue of "internalized oppression."

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