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Lifetime Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Ambulatory Blood Pressure: The Moderating Effect of Age

Beatty Moody, Danielle L.; Waldstein, Shari R.; Tobin, Jonathan N.; Cassels, Andrea; Schwartz, Joseph E.; Brondolo, Elizabeth

Objective

To determine if the relationships of lifetime discrimination to ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) varied as a function of age in a sample of Black and Latino(a) adults ages 19 – 65.

Methods

Participants were 607 Black (n = 318) and Latino(a) (n = 289) adults (49% female) who completed the Perceived Ethnic Discrimination Questionnaire-Community Version (PEDQ-CV), which assesses lifetime exposure to racism/ethnic discrimination. They were outfitted with an ABP monitor to assess systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP) across a 24-hour period. Mixed-level modeling was conducted to examine potential interactive effects of lifetime discrimination and age to 24-hour, daytime, and nighttime ABP after adjustment for demographic, socioeconomic, personality and life stress characteristics, and substance consumption covariates (e.g., smoking, alcohol).

Results

There were significant interactions of Age × Lifetime Discrimination on 24-hour and daytime DBP (ps ≤ .04), and in particular significant interactions for the Social Exclusion component of Lifetime Discrimination. Post-hoc probing of the interactions revealed the effects of Lifetime Discrimination on DBP were seen for older, but not younger participants. Lifetime discrimination was significantly positively associated with nocturnal SBP, and these effects were not moderated by age. All associations of Lifetime Discrimination to ABP remained significant controlling for recent exposure to discrimination as well as all other covariates.

Conclusions

Exposure to racial/ethnic discrimination across the life course is associated with elevated ABP in middle to older aged Black and Latino(a) adults. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms linking discrimination to ABP over the life course.

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Also Published In

Title
Health Psychology
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000270

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Published Here
August 24, 2017