Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 344–356 | Cite as

Lower life satisfaction, active coping and cardiovascular disease risk factors in older African Americans: outcomes of a longitudinal church-based intervention

  • Yesenia P. Mendez
  • Penny A. Ralston
  • Kandauda (K.A.S.) Wickrama
  • Dayoung Bae
  • Iris Young-Clark
  • Jasminka Z. Ilich


This study examined lower life satisfaction, active coping and cardiovascular disease risk factors (diastolic and systolic blood pressure, body mass index, and circumferences) in older African Americans over the phases of an 18-month church-based intervention, using a quasi-experimental design. Participants (n = 89) were 45 years of age and older from six churches (three treatment, three comparison) in North Florida. Lower life satisfaction had a persistent unfavorable effect on weight variables. Active coping showed a direct beneficial effect on selected weight variables. However, active coping was adversely associated with blood pressure, and did not moderate the association between lower life satisfaction and cardiovascular risk factors. The intervention had a beneficial moderating influence on the association between lower life satisfaction and weight variables and on the association between active coping and these variables. Yet, this pattern did not hold for the association between active coping and blood pressure. The relationship of lower life satisfaction and selected cardiovascular risk factors and the positive effect of active coping were established, but findings regarding blood pressure suggest further study is needed.


Life satisfaction Active coping Cardiovascular disease risk Church-based health promotion 



Appreciation is expressed to participants in this project, including pastors, church leaders, and members in the six participating churches. In addition, appreciation is extended to the staff and students in the Center on Better Health and Life for Underserved Populations at Florida State University who assisted with this project.


This work was supported by Award Number R24MD002807 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities or the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Yesenia P. Mendez, Penny A. Ralston, Kandauda (K. A. S.) Wickrama, Dayoung Bae, Iris Young-Clark, Jasminka Z. Ilich declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Florida State University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of MedicineFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Center on Better Health and Life for Underserved PopulationsFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Georgia Athletic Association Endowed Professor of Human Development and Family Science ResearchUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  5. 5.Professor of Nutrition, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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