A Review of Nursing Research on Blood Pressure


Dr. Thomas, University of Maryland, School of Nursing, 655 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21201. E-mail: Thomas@son.umaryland.edu


Purpose: To provide this second 10-year review of nursing research on blood pressure (BP) and to focus attention on incorporating biopsychosocial factors affecting BP in nursing research.

Organizing Construct: Blood pressure is a dynamic, multidimensional, cardiovascular indicator of a person's state rather than a one-dimensional static measurement.

Methods: This 10-year literature review 1990–1999 included 54 nursing research articles with BP as an outcome measure. Four nursing research journals were reviewed to identify all nurse-authored articles investigating BP as an outcome variable in adult populations. Inclusion of individual characteristics, environmental factors, dynamic nature of blood pressure, and interpersonal aspects of blood pressure were assessed for each article.

Findings: Age, gender, and health status were mentioned consistently in both decades. Reporting of socioeconomic, occupational, educational, activity, and martial status remained low. Descriptions of environments increased, and automated devices were the most common method for BP assessment. Less than half of the articles included a description of the person measuring the BP. Measurement of BP under multiple conditions increased, but measurement within conditions did not.

Conclusions: Advances in technology and data analysis have increased knowledge of the dynamic nature of BP, but recognition of the complex nature of BP has not progressed rapidly over the last 2 decades.