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Margaret Hicken photo

Racial/ethnic Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence: Reconsidering the Role of Chronic Stress

Publication Abstract

Hicken, Margaret, Hedy Lee, Jeffrey Morenoff, James S. House, and David R. Williams. 2014. "Racial/ethnic Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence: Reconsidering the Role of Chronic Stress." American Journal of Public Health, 104(1): 117-123.

Using data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study, we investigated the association between anticipatory stress, also known as racism-related vigilance, and hypertension prevalence in Black, Hispanic, and White adults. We regressed hypertension prevalence on the interaction between race/ethnicity and vigilance in logit models and found that Blacks reported the highest vigilance levels. For Blacks, each unit increase in vigilance was associated with a 4% increase in the odds of hypertension. Hispanics showed a similar but nonsignificant association, and Whites showed no association. We conclude that vigilance may represent a significant source of chronic stress that contributes to the higher prevalence of hypertension among Blacks than Whites, and possibly to hypertension among Hispanics.

DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301395 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3910029. (Pub Med Central)

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