Stress and Depression Are Associated with Life's Simple 7 among African Americans with Hypertension: Findings from the Jackson Heart Study

Aisha T. Langford, Mark Butler, John N. Booth, Peng Jin, Adam P. Bress, Rikki M. Tanner, Jolaade Kalinowski, Judite Blanc, Azizi Seixas, Daichi Shimbo, Mario Sims, Gbenga Ogedegbe, Tanya M. Spruill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The American Heart Association created the Life's Simple 7 (LS7) metrics to promote cardiovascular health (CVH) by achieving optimal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, physical activity, diet, weight, and smoking status. The degree to which psychosocial factors such as stress and depression impact one's ability to achieve optimal CVH is unclear, particularly among hypertensive African Americans. Methods: Cross-sectional analyses included 1,819 African Americans with hypertension participating in the Jackson Heart Study (2000-2004). Outcomes were LS7 composite and individual component scores (defined as poor, intermediate, ideal). High perceived chronic stress was defined as the top quartile of Weekly Stress Inventory scores. High depressive symptoms were defined as Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale scores of ≥16. We compared 4 groups: high stress alone; high depressive symptoms alone; high stress and high depressive symptoms; low stress and low depressive symptoms (reference) using linear regression for total LS7 scores and logistic regression for LS7 components. Results: Participants with both high stress and depressive symptoms had lower composite LS7 scores (B [95% confidence interval] = -0.34 [-0.65 to -0.02]) than those with low stress and depressive symptoms in unadjusted and age/sex-adjusted models. They also had poorer health status for smoking (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 0.52 [0.35-0.78]) and physical activity (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 0.71 [0.52-0.95]) after full covariate adjustment. Conclusions: The combination of high stress and high depressive symptoms was associated with poorer LS7 metrics in hypertensive African Americans. Psychosocial interventions may increase the likelihood of engaging in behaviors that promote optimal CVH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1311-1321
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • American Heart Association
  • blood pressure
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • depression
  • hypertension
  • psychological
  • risk factors
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Stress and Depression Are Associated with Life's Simple 7 among African Americans with Hypertension: Findings from the Jackson Heart Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this