Dimensions of perceived racism and self-reported health: examination of racial/ethnic differences and potential mediators
BACKGROUND:Many details of the negative relationship between perceived racial/ethnic discrimination and health are poorly understood. PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study was to examine racial/ethnic differences in the relationship between perceived discrimination and self-reported health, identify dimensions of discrimination that drive this relationship, and explore psychological mediators. METHODS:Asian, Black, and Latino(a) adults (N=734) completed measures of perceived racial/ethnic discrimination, self-reported health, depression, anxiety, and cynical hostility. RESULTS:The association between perceived discrimination and poor self-reported health was significant and did not differ across racial/ethnic subgroups. Race-related social exclusion and threat/harassment uniquely contributed to poor health for all groups. Depression, anxiety, and cynical hostility fully mediated the effect of social exclusion on health, but did not fully explain the effect of threat. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that noxious effects of race-related exclusion and threat transcend between-group differences in discriminatory experiences. The effects of race-related exclusion and threat on health, however, may operate through different mechanisms.
The medication Adherence and Blood Pressure Control (ABC) trial: a multi-site randomized controlled trial in a hypertensive, multi-cultural, economically disadvantaged population
The Medication Adherence and BP Control Trial (ABC Trial) is a randomized, controlled, multi-site, medication adherence and blood pressure (BP) control trial in an economically disadvantaged and multi-cultural population of hypertensive patients followed in primary care practices. To date, no other such trial has been published in which objective measures of adherence (electronic pill bottles) were used to assess the effectiveness of these behavioral interventions for hypertension. This study tested a combination of commercially-available interventions that can be easily accessed by health care providers and patients, and therefore may provide a real-world solution to the problem of non-adherence among hypertensives. The aim of the ABC Trial was to test the effectiveness of a stepped care intervention in improving both medication adherence to an antihypertensive medication regimen and BP control. Step 1 of the intervention employed home Self-BP Monitoring (SBPM); at this stage, there were two arms: (1) Usual Care (UC) and (2) Intervention. At Step 2, patients in the intervention arm whose BP had not come under control after 3 months were further randomized to one of two conditions: (1) continuation of SBPM (alone) or (2) continuation of SBPM plus telephone-based nurse case management (SBPM+NCM). Electronic Medication Event Monitoring (MEMS) was the primary measure of medication adherence, and in-office BP was the primary measure of hypertension control. We present an overview of the study design, details of the administrative structure of the study and a description of clinical site recruitment, patient recruitment, and follow-up assessments
Consistency of blood pressure differences between the left and right arms
BACKGROUND:It is unclear to what extent interarm blood pressure (BP) differences are reproducible vs the result of random error. The present study was designed to resolve this issue. METHODS:We enrolled 147 consecutive patients from a hypertension clinic. Three sets of 3 BP readings were recorded, first using 2 oscillometric devices simultaneously in the 2 arms (set 1); next, 3 readings were taken sequentially for each arm using a standard mercury sphygmomanometer (set 2); finally, the readings as performed for set 1 were repeated (set 3). The protocol was repeated at a second visit for 91 patients. RESULTS:Large interarm systolic BP differences were consistently seen in 2 patients with obstructive arterial disease. In the remaining patients, the systolic BP and the diastolic BP, respectively, were slightly higher in the right arm than in the left arm by 2 to 3 mm Hg and by 1 mm Hg for all 3 sets (P<.01 for all). For the systolic BP and the diastolic BP, respectively, the numbers of patients who had a mean interarm difference of more than 5 mm Hg were 11 (7.5%) and 4 (2.7%) across all 3 sets of readings. Among patients who repeated the test, none had a consistent interarm BP difference of more than 5 mm Hg across the 2 visits. CONCLUSIONS:The interarm BP difference was consistent only when obstructive arterial disease was present. Although BP in the right arm tended to be higher than in the left arm, clinically meaningful interarm differences were not reproducible in the absence of obstructive arterial disease and are attributable to random variation.
Assessment of the white-coat effect
BACKGROUND: A limitation of blood pressure measurements made in the physician's office is the transient elevation in pressure seen in many patients that does not appear to be linked to target organ damage or prognosis. This has been labeled the 'white-coat effect' (WCE), computed as the difference between blood pressure measurements taken by the physician and the ambulatory level or resting measures. It is unclear, however, which resting measure is most appropriate. The awake ambulatory blood pressure is the most widely used. However, while arguably the most useful measure for prediction of clinical outcomes, it is less appropriate for use as a resting measure, because it is influenced by many factors, including posture and physical activity level. Resting levels taken in the clinic may also be elevated, and will therefore underestimate the WCE. METHODS: We addressed this question by taking resting measures in a non-medical setting on the day before patients were seen at a Hypertension Clinic (day 1), and comparing these with resting measures taken on the following day, in the clinic before the patient saw the physician. RESULTS: As predicted, the day 1 resting levels were lower than those taken in the clinic prior to seeing the physician (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001 for systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively) in both normotensive and hypertensive patients. Using the day 1 resting levels, the estimated WCE for hypertensive patients was 5.3/6.9 mmHg (systolic/diastolic blood pressures), compared with estimates, using the clinic resting levels, of 0.3/0.5 mmHg. The pattern of changes was different in normotensive patients and hypertensive patients, with the physician pressures being slightly lower than day 1 pressures in the former, and substantially higher in the latter. Heart rate changes were similar and modest in both groups. CONCLUSION: The WCE may not just be limited to that narrow interval in which the patient actually sees the physician, but may generalize to the clinic setting, rendering a clinic 'resting' level invalid. While it is strongly positive in most hypertensive patients, it is frequently negative in normotensive patients. Our results suggest that improved methods of measuring blood pressure in the clinic setting are unlikely to resolve the confounding influence of the WCE, and that greater reliance will need to be placed on out-of-office monitoring
Anxiety and outcome expectations predict the white-coat effect
OBJECTIVE:To determine whether elevated clinic blood pressure compared with daytime ambulatory blood pressure, referred to as the white-coat effect, is associated with anxiety and increased blood pressure expectancy in the doctor's office. METHODS:The 24-h ambulatory blood pressure measurements and physicians' blood pressure measurements were obtained in 226 normotensive and hypertensive study participants. Anxiety levels were assessed multiple times during the clinic visit using a Visual Analog Scale. Participants' expectations regarding the clinic visit were assessed using a six-item scale (Expectations of Outcomes Scale). The white-coat effect was computed as the difference between the mean clinic blood pressure and the mean daytime ambulatory blood pressure. Multiple regression analysis was performed to examine the association between anxiety, outcome expectations and the white-coat effect, adjusting for age, sex, and ambulatory blood pressure level. RESULTS:As predicted, outcome expectations and anxiety during the clinic visit were significantly associated with the white-coat effect. Results of the regression analysis indicated that only expectancy had an independent effect on the systolic white-coat effect; however, both anxiety and expectancy had independent effects on the diastolic white-coat effect. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Our results provide empirical support to the hypothesis that anxiety and blood pressure expectancy may elevate clinic blood pressure.