Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 55–65

Perceived racism and blood pressure: A review of the literature and conceptual and methodological critique


    • Department of PsychologySt. John’s University
  • Ricardo Rieppi
    • Department of PsychologySt. John’s University
  • Kim P. Kelly
    • Department of PsychologySt. John’s University
  • William Gerin
    • Mt. Sinai Medical Center

DOI: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2501_08

Cite this article as:
Brondolo, E., Rieppi, R., Kelly, K.P. et al. ann. behav. med. (2003) 25: 55. doi:10.1207/S15324796ABM2501_08


Racial disparities in health, including elevated rates of hypertension (HT) among Blacks, are widely recognized and a matter of serious concern. Researchers have hypothesized that social stress, and in particular exposure to racism, may account for some of the between-group differences in the prevalence of HT and a portion of the within-group variations in risk for HT However, there have been surprisingly few empirical studies of the relationship between perceived racism and blood pressure (BP) or cardiovascular reactivity (CVR), a possible marker of mechanisms culminating in cardiovascular disease. This article reviews published literature investigating the relationship of perceived racismto HT-relatedvariables, including self-reported history of HT, BP level, or CVR. Strengths andweaknesses of the existing research are discussed to permit the identification of research areas that may elucidate the biopsychosocial mechanisms potentially linking racism to HT We hope to encourage investigators to invest in research on the health effects of racism because a sound and detailed knowledge base in this area is necessary to address racial disparities in health.

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2003