Objective: Our objective was to determine the effectiveness of combining positive affect and self-affirmation strategies with motivational interviewing in achieving blood pressure control among hypertensive African Americans (AA) compared with AA hypertensives in an education-only control group. Design: Randomized trial. Setting: Ambulatory practices in the South Bronx and Harlem, New York City. Participants: African American adults with uncontrolled hypertension. Interventions: Participants were randomized to a positive affect and self-affirmation intervention or an education control group. The positive affect and self-affirmation intervention involved having participants think about things that made them happy and that reminded them of their core values on a daily basis. These strategies were reinforced every two months through motivational interviewing. The control arm received a workbook of strategies on blood pressure control. All participants were called every two months for one year. Main Outcomes: Blood pressure control rate. Results: A total of 238 participants were randomized. The average age was 56 ± 11 years, approximately 70% were female, 80% were not married, and up to 70% had completed high school. There was no difference in control rates between the intervention and the control group. However, at one year, female participants were more likely to be controlled. Participants with high depressive symptoms or high perceived stress at baseline were less likely to be controlled. Conclusions: While this study did not demonstrate an intervention effect, it does provide important insight into the psychosocial factors that may underlie blood pressure control in African Americans. Implications for future behavioral intervention trials are discussed.
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