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Psychosom Med. 2001 Jul-Aug;63(4):523-30.

Religious coping, ethnicity, and ambulatory blood pressure.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



To investigate the relationship between religious coping, ethnicity, and ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) measured during daily life.


A 24-hour ABP was obtained from 155 men and women (78 African American and 77 white) on a typical workday. ABP was averaged over awake and sleep periods, and clinic BP was also assessed. Psychosocial measures of coping style, negative affect, social support, stress, and health behaviors were completed before ABP measurement.


Multiple regression analyses, controlling for demographic variables, revealed a significant religious coping by ethnicity interaction for ABP (p < .01) and clinic BP (p < .05). Religious coping was not related to BP among whites. Among African Americans, however, higher levels of religious coping were associated with lower awake (p < .05) and sleep (p < .01) ABP. Social support satisfaction also was related to lower awake ABP among African Americans, but it did not mediate the relationship between religious coping and ABP.


The results of this study extend previous findings by showing that, among African Americans, religious coping and BP are related during daily activities as well as in the clinic. Lower 24-hour BP load may be a pathway through which religiosity and cardiovascular health are related.

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