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Socioeconomic Status, John Henryism and Hypertension Risk in Blacks

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Identifier:
First received: May 25, 2000
Last updated: June 23, 2005
Last verified: August 2004

To investigate psychosocial and dietary influences on blood pressure in Blacks.

Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart Diseases

Study Type: Observational

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI):

Study Start Date: December 1984
Estimated Study Completion Date: April 1997
Detailed Description:


Socioeconomic status as measured by education, income and/or occupation is generally inversely associated with hypertension-risk. John Henryism research is designed to test the psychosocial stress hypothesis that low SES Blacks who are strongly predisposed to overcome difficult life circumstances through effortful active coping might have higher blood pressure than their more relaxed neighbors and that John Henryism and anger suppression are positively correlated in Blacks.

The first two years of the project analyzed data collected on 1,548 Black and white men and women in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. The Edgecombe County data were collected in 1983 to provide data for a representative sample of households to be used in evaluating the effectiveness of a community high blood pressure control program. Approximately 50 percent of the sample was Black and 56 percent women. In the first year, measurements were made in all four race-sex groups of the effect-modifying role of John Henryism on education and on alternative measures of SES. In the second year, analyses were conducted on the degree to which job security, marriage, and socioeconomic mobility predict blood pressure in each race-sex group.


A survey was conducted of 2,017 Black men and women in Pitt County, North Carolina. Study variables included age, sex, marital status, socioeconomic status (SES), John Henryism (behavioral predisposition to cope actively with psychosocial environmental stressors), social support, anger-coping style, social desirability, dietary variables including sodium, potassium, calcium and alcohol, blood pressure, height, weight, and pregnancy. In the cross-sectional study, blood pressure was the continuous outcome as measured by linear regression. Three years after baseline all normotensive persons were re-examined in order to measure changes in blood pressure from baseline after exposure to selected psychosocial and dietary factors. The study provided an estimate of the degree to which John Henryism, social support, anger-coping and dietary factors modify the association between SES and blood pressure in Blacks.

The study was renewed in 1993 to re-examine the 1,429 respondents (571 men, 912 women) with untreated, mean diastolic blood pressure < 95 mmHg at baseline, and again at follow-up, on changes in blood pressure during the intervening four to five years (1988-1992/93). The social variables included socioeconomic status, John Henryism, stress, and social support; the dietary variables included alcohol, sodium, potassium, and calcium; and the anthropometric variables included body mass index (BMI) and waist/hip ratio (WHR). With an emphasis on SES, physical activity, dietary habits, and cigarette smoking, the predictors of weight gain, and changes in patterning of body fat were also examined. Multiple linear regression was the primary analytic tool used to study these longitudinal relationships. In cross-sectional analyses which controlled for physical activity and other important variables, the roles of insulin resistance in mediating associations between obesity and blood pressure, and stress and blood pressure, were also examined.


Genders Eligible for Study:   Male
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

No eligibility criteria

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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00005172

Sponsors and Collaborators
Investigator: John Sherman University of Michigan
  More Information

Publications: Identifier: NCT00005172     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 1047
Study First Received: May 25, 2000
Last Updated: June 23, 2005
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart Diseases
Vascular Diseases processed this record on November 25, 2014