Racial discrimination and blood pressure: the CARDIA Study of young black and white adults

Am J Public Health. 1996 Oct;86(10):1370-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.86.10.1370.


Objectives: This study examined associations between blood pressure and self reported experiences of racial discrimination and responses to unfair treatment.

Methods: Survey data were collected in year 7 (1992/93) of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a prospective multisite community-based investigation. Participants included 831 Black men, 1143 Black women, 1006 White men, and 1106 White women 25 to 37 years old.

Results: Systolic blood pressure among working-class Black adults reporting that they typically accepted unfair treatment and had experienced racial discrimination in none of seven situations was about 7 mm Hg higher than among those reporting that they challenged unfair treatment and experienced racial discrimination in one or two of the situations. Among professional Black adults, systolic blood pressure was 9 to 10 mm Hg lower among those reporting that they typically challenged unfair treatment and had not experienced racial discrimination. Black-White differences in blood pressure were substantially reduced by taking into account reported experiences of racial discrimination and responses to unfair treatment.

Conclusions: Research on racial/ ethnic distributions of blood pressure should take into account how discrimination may harm health.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black People
  • Black or African American*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupations
  • Prejudice*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • White People*