Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 308–316

Evaluation of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention Program to Decrease Blood Pressure in Low-Income African-American Older Adults

  • Priya Palta
  • G. Page
  • R. L. Piferi
  • J. M. Gill
  • M. J. Hayat
  • A. B. Connolly
  • S. L. Szanton
Article

Abstract

Hypertension affects a large proportion of urban African-American older adults. While there have been great strides in drug development, many older adults do not have access to such medicines or do not take them. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been shown to decrease blood pressure in some populations. This has not been tested in low-income, urban African-American older adults. Therefore, the primary purpose of this pilot study was to test the feasibility and acceptability of a mindfulness-based program for low income, minority older adults provided in residence. The secondary purpose was to learn if the mindfulness-based program produced differences in blood pressure between the intervention and control groups. Participants were at least 62 years old and residents of a low-income senior residence. All participants were African-American, and one was male. Twenty participants were randomized to the mindfulness-based intervention or a social support control group of the same duration and dose. Blood pressure was measured with the Omron automatic blood pressure machine at baseline and at the end of the 8-week intervention. A multivariate regression analysis was performed on the difference in scores between baseline and post-intervention blood pressure measurements, controlling for age, education, smoking status, and anti-hypertensive medication use. Effect sizes were calculated to quantify the magnitude of the relationship between participation in the mindfulness-based intervention and the outcome variable, blood pressure. Attendance remained >80% in all 8 weeks of both the intervention and the control groups. The average systolic blood pressure decreased for both groups post-intervention. Individuals in the intervention group exhibited a 21.92-mmHg lower systolic blood pressure compared to the social support control group post-intervention and this value was statistically significant (p = 0.020). The average diastolic blood pressure decreased in the intervention group post-intervention, but increased in the social support group. Individuals in the intervention group exhibited a 16.70-mmHg lower diastolic blood pressure compared to the social support group post-intervention, and this value was statistically significant (p = 0.003). Older adults are at a time in life when a reflective, stationary intervention, delivered in residence, could be an appealing mechanism to improve blood pressure. Given our preliminary results, larger trials in this hypertensive study population are warranted.

Keywords

Blood pressure Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) Older adults 

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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priya Palta
    • 1
    • 6
  • G. Page
    • 3
  • R. L. Piferi
    • 4
  • J. M. Gill
    • 5
  • M. J. Hayat
    • 3
  • A. B. Connolly
    • 2
  • S. L. Szanton
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Center on Aging and HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Independent Mindfulness Educator and Founder/Director SHINE ProgramsBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.School of NursingJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.School of NursingGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  6. 6.Center on Aging and HealthBaltimoreUSA

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