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Blacks, caregivers, blood pressure



  1. Fulton Picot, Sandra J.
  2. Zauszniewski, Jaclene A.
  3. Debanne, Sara M.
  4. Holston, Ezra C.


Background: Substantial interaction between mood and blood pressure, especially in the context of caregiving for a dependent elder, could increase the risk in the already at-risk population of Black women for either higher blood pressure or the onset of hypertension.


Objectives: To examine the relationship between mood symptoms and daytime ambulatory blood pressures during a 12-hour period in Black female caregivers and noncaregivers.


Method: A prospective cohort design was employed to study Black females 18 years of age or older identified by randomly selected elders as the provider or potential provider of 5 or more hours of care per week to the elder. Mood symptoms were measured on visual analogue scales by the subjects in a diary attached to a retractable clip key ring worn by the subject. Blood pressure responses were measured with automated portable blood pressure monitors every 30 minutes. Additional risk and treatment factors were considered for descriptive purposes.


Results: The two groups were equivalent on all hypertension risk and treatment factors except alcohol use (more noncaregivers consumed alcohol). Among caregivers, anger and mean diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were negatively related (parameter = -0.64, SE = .23, p = .01) and the negative relationship between anger and systolic blood pressure approached significance (parameter = -0.81, SE = 0.65, p = 0.10). Anxiety and sadness were not significant predictors.


Conclusion: Among Black caregivers, elevated anger was associated with significant decreases in DBP, while lowered anger was associated with significant increases in DBP. Whether lower anger scores reflect a low level of perceived anger or suppressed anger among Black caregivers should be explored in future studies.