PURPOSE : Although research has explored the effects of racism on mental health, few studies have investigated the effects of racism on physical health. In this study, we examined the influence of racial discrimination and race-related stress and coping on blood pressure within a cohort of Black/African American women.
METHODS : This was a secondary data analysis of 226 Black/African American women from the Intergenerational Impact of Genetic and Psychological Factors on Blood Pressure study. Experiences of racial discrimination and coping, measured by the Experiences of Discrimination scale and the Race-Related Events Scale, were analyzed in relation to systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Multiple linear regression was used to explore the interaction effect of coping and discrimination on blood pressure for both scales.
RESULTS : Age and elevated body mass index were associated with increased SBP and DBP, and low income was associated with increased DBP. Among individuals who reported no personal experience of discrimination, more active coping strategies were associated with higher DBP. There was no evidence of a relationship between type of coping strategies used and blood pressure among individuals who did report experiences of discrimination.
CONCLUSION : Differences in coping strategy in response to racism were not found to have a significant moderating effect on DBP in Black/African American women.