Psychosom Med 2012 Jun;74(5):509-16
Department of Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270, USA.
Objective: To examine the protective effects of racial identity and Africentric worldview on the association between racial discrimination and blood pressure (BP).
Methods: Two hundred ten African American young adults completed questionnaires assessing demographic characteristics, prior racial discrimination experiences, racial identity, and Africentric worldview. Resting BP was assessed before and after completion of the study measures.
Results: Racial discrimination was unrelated to BP in the overall sample (systolic BP, p = .444; diastolic BP [DBP], p = .915; mean arterial pressure, p = .774). However, racial identity and Africentric worldview moderated the association between racial discrimination and BP. Racial discrimination was negatively related to DBP for participants who felt that others viewed African Americans less favorably and who endorsed the uniqueness of the African American experience (B = -2.59, standard error [SE] = 1.29, p = .046). These individuals also had the lowest DBP at high levels of racial discrimination. Racial discrimination was positively associated with DBP for individuals with low levels of Africentric orientation (B = 1.43, SE = 0.72, p = .048) but was unrelated to DBP at moderate (B = 0.24, SE = 0.65, p = .718) and high (B = -0.96, SE = 1.01, p = .341) levels of Africentric worldview.
Conclusions: Racial and cultural personal characteristics such as racial identity and Africentric orientation may serve an important protective function for BP in African American young adults.