, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 126-131

Moderating effects of perceived racism on john henryism and blood pressure reactivity in black female college students

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Background: Relative to other ethnic groups in the United States, Blacks have disproportionately higher rates of hypertension. Research suggests that perceived racism might moderate the relation between such Pearson variables as John Henryism and cardiac/vascular functioning.Purpose: This study examined the possible moderating influence of perceived racism on the John Henryism reactivity relation in a sample of 117 Black female college students (M age = 26.10 years, SD = 8.83).Methods: Blood pressure was measured before and during a speaking task. John Henryism and perceived racism were assessed via self-report.Results: Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that John Henryism was inversely related to systolic blood pressure reactivity (p = .007). These analyses also indicated that John Henryism and perceived racism interacted to predict both systolic (p = .007) and diastolic blood pressure reactivity (p = .0005). Follow-up regression analyses indicated that John Henryism was unrelated to systolic and diastolic blood pressure reactivity for women high in perceived racism (ps < .62) and was inversely associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure reactivity for women low in perceived racism (ps > .01).Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of examining the potential moderating effects of ethnically relevant situation factors when exploring the relation of John Henryism to blood pressure reactivity.

Preparation of this article was supported by Grants MH56868 and MH01867 to Rodney Clark from the National Institute of Mental Health. We are grateful to Karen Freeman, Keisha Beard, and the Biobehavioral Research Group at Wayne State University for their assistance with data collection and entry.