Education, lifestyle and arterial blood pressure

J Psychosom Res. 1990;34(5):515-23. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(90)90026-z.


Lower education is associated with higher blood pressure and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Reasons for this are explored in this paper. It is hypothesized that education is most important as a risk factor for high blood pressure to the extent that an individual's style of life is incongruent with his or her education. Style of life is defined here on the basis of the accumulation of consumer goods and exposure to mass media. It was found, in a study of blood pressure in an African-American community, that lifestyle incongruity, or the degree to which style of life exceeded education, was associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure, adjusting for age, sex, Body Mass Index, income, chronic social stressors, and Type A behavior. It is argued that this incongruity leads to recurring frustrating social interactions, which in turn are related to higher blood pressure.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Educational Status*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / psychology*
  • Life Style*
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Type A Personality