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Am J Public Health. 1996 October; 86(10): 1370–1378.
PMCID: PMC1380646

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


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.

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