Background: The experience of racial discrimination among African Americans may contribute to an increased risk of developing hypertension and having poor hypertension control once diagnosed. Although it is a commonly held belief that experiences of discrimination may exert lasting effects on health behavior and physiology, the existing evidence is mixed. Objective: The objective of this review was to identify evidence linking the experience of discrimination with hypertension among African Americans and to provide an updated synthesis of the literature. Design: Articles for the review were identified through an electronic search of PubMed, OVID, and other pertinent journals. The review was augmented with a manual search of references. We assessed the quality of included articles using modified Downs and Black criteria. Results: In total, 15 articles were selected for the review, 12 cross-sectional studies and 3 cohort studies. The preponderance of evidence (9 of 15 articles) indicated that discrimination was associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension, difficulty obtaining control of existing hypertension, and/or elevated blood pressure among those without a diagnosis of hypertension. Conclusions: This systematic review supports the association of racial discrimination with an increased risk of developing hypertension; however, the picture is not uniform. Methodological challenges, such as floor or ceiling effects of reported discrimination and low sample size, may have prevented researchers from detecting important associations. A better understanding of the emerging but complex relationship between discrimination and hypertension among African Americans is needed, as we seek to resolve existing cardiovascular health disparities.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Ethnicity and Disease|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2012|
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