John Henryism and blood pressure in black college students

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Previous research on John Henryism, a coping mechanism linked to hypertension in blacks, has focused almost exclusively on rural, low-socioeconomic status (SES), adult populations. Furthermore, these studies have not evaluated mediating influences of John Henryism except in terms of SES. The primary focus of the current investigation was to examine the influence of John Henryism on cardiovascular disease risk factors among a relatively healthy sample of 421 urban, black college students. A second component of the study was to determine the role of social support as a mediating influence on those with limited coping resources and high John Henryism scores. Approximately 30% of males and 9% of females had systolic blood pressures ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressures ≥90. Females had higher John Henryism scores than males. John Henryism was also correlated with social support in females. Gender-specific regression models revealed that John Henryism was not an independent predictor of blood pressure in black college students. The results are discussed in terms of apparent gender differences with regard to overall coping mechanisms in black students and possible explanations for the lack of a John Henryism-blood pressure relationship in this population. © 1994 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

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