Stable pessimistic attributions interact with socioeconomic status to influence blood pressure and vulnerability to hypertension

Karen Grewen, Susan S. Girdler, Sheila Grace West, Edith Bragdon, Nancy Costello, Kathleen C. Light

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18 Scopus citations


We investigated the relationship of pessimistic attributional style (specifically, stable attributions for negative events) and socioeconomic status (SES) to cardiovascular and catecholamine profiles in a biracial sample of 37 postmenopausal women (aged 39-64 years) not taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Blood pressure (BP) variation in response to the demands of daily life was assessed by 24-hour ambulatory monitoring on a typical workday. Subjects were classified into groups by stable pessimistic attributions (high vs. low pessimism) and by SES (high vs. low). Significant SES X pessimism interactions were found. Low SES/high pessimism women demonstrated higher systolic BP (SBP) during the day, evening, and sleep periods of 24-hour ambulatory monitoring compared with the other three groups. A greater proportion of this group was in the hypertensive range (≥ 140/90 mm Hg) compared with the other groups (57% vs. 8%-29%). Low SES/high pessimism women also reported reduced available social support compared with the other three groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-915
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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