Hypertension labeling and sense of well-being

Am J Public Health. 1981 Nov;71(11):1228-32. doi: 10.2105/ajph.71.11.1228.


Seventy-one individuals were mislabeled on the basis of a prevalence survey (N = 1,031) conducted in low-income community. They were told by a physician that they were hypertensive but were later judged normotensive on the basis of three blood pressure measures. None of these persons was taking antihypertensive medication or under medical care. Compared to the total normotensive sample, the mislabeled group reported more depressive symptoms (P = .005), lower present health (p = .001), and a worsening of their health over the past five years (p = .035). Compared to a control group matched on gender, age, ethnicity, education, and marital status, the mislabeled group reported even more depressive symptoms (p = .005), and lower present health (p = .034). They did not, however, have a worsening of health over the past five years (p = .074). These findings could not be explained by greater utilization of medical care or comorbidity. It is suggested that these findings are a result of people being falsely labeled as hypertensive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Demography
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / psychology*
  • Male