Socioeconomic and psychosocial factors mediate race differences in nocturnal blood pressure dipping

Tanya M. Spruill, William Gerin, Gbenga Ogedegbe, Matthew Burg, Joseph E. Schwartz, Thomas G. Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Reduced nocturnal blood pressure (BP) dipping is more prevalent among blacks living in the United States than whites and is associated with increased target organ damage and cardiovascular risk. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether socioeconomic and psychosocial factors help to explain racial differences in dipping. In order to address the limited reproducibility of dipping measures, we investigated this question in a sample of participants who underwent multiple ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) sessions. Methods: The study sample included 171 black and white normotensive and mildly hypertensive participants who underwent three ABPM sessions, each 1 month apart, and completed a battery of questionnaires to assess socioeconomic and psychosocial factors. Results: As expected, blacks showed less dipping than whites, after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and mean 24-h BP level (mean difference = 3.3%, P = 0.002). Dipping was related to several of the socioeconomic and psychosocial factors examined, with higher education and income, being married, and higher perceived social support, each associated with a larger dipping percentage. Of these, marital status and education were independently associated with dipping and together accounted for 36% of the effect of race on dipping. Conclusions: We identified a number of socioeconomic and psychosocial correlates of BP dipping and found that reduced dipping among blacks vs. whites is partially explained by marital status (being unmarried) and lower education among blacks. We also present results suggesting that repeated ABPM may facilitate the detection of associations between dipping and other variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-642
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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