The Relationship of Racism, Chronic Stress Emotions, and Blood Pressure


  • Rosalind M. Peters

    1. Rosalind M. Peters, RN, PhD, Lambda, Assistant Professor, Wayne State University, College of Nursing, Detroit, MI. Support for this research was provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, P.E.O. International Scholar Award, and Sigma Theta Tau International, Lambda Chapter Research Award. Correspondence to Dr. Peters, Wayne State University, College of Nursing, 5557 Cass Ave.-Room 358, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail:
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Purpose: To test a middle-range theory of chronic stress emotions to examine the effects of perceived racism and emotion-focused coping on psychological and physiological health outcomes in African Americans.

Design: A descriptive-correlational, causal modeling study was conducted with a convenience sample of 162 community-dwelling adults.

Methods: Participants completed the Racism and Life Experience Scale; Krieger Racial Discrimination Questionnaire; Toronto Alexithymia Scale; Emotional Approach Coping Scale; State-Trait Personality Inventory; and a demographic data sheet. Automated blood pressure (BP) readings were obtained.

Analysis: Structural equation modeling techniques were used to examine the hypothesized causal and correlational links between the theoretical constructs, as well as to examine the relationship between the observed variables and the latent constructs measured.

Finding and Conclusions: The proposed model fits the sample data. Racism was a commonly experienced stressor associated with chronic stress emotions, but not with BP. Emotion-focused coping was strongly associated with socioeconomic status and chronic stress emotions but not with BP.