Gender Differences in Health-Promoting Lifestyles of African Americans


  • Rolanda L. Johnson, Ph.D., R.N., Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tennesse.

* Rolanda L. Johnson, 521 Godchaux Hall, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, TN 37240. E-mail:


Abstract  Despite progress in meeting Healthy People 2010 goals, African American (AA) men and women have higher mortality and morbidity rates as compared with Caucasian Americans. These may be attributed to lifestyle behaviors; however, this is a complex, multifactorial problem. The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences among AA lifestyle behaviors. A descriptive comparative design was used. The sample consisted of 223 AAs residing in southeastern United States. The health-promoting lifestyle profile (HPLP) was used to measure health-promoting behaviors. Independent t-test analysis revealed no statistically significant gender differences for total HPLP scores, t(220) = −1.49, p = 0.14. When controlling for income, education, and marital status, no significant interactions were seen with gender on HPLP. Independent t-test analyses revealed statistically significant differences for interpersonal relationship support, t(221) = −1.97, p = 0.05, health responsibility, t(214) = −2.46, p = 0.02, and nutrition t(219) = −3.27, p < 0.01, with women scoring higher than men. Although gender differences in AAs are evident for specific health-promoting lifestyle behaviors, these differences become less dominant when education and marital status were used as covariates.