Race, blood pressure, and the behavioral assessment of hostility

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Neil Schneiderman, Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Lynn Durel, Committee Member


A relationship between Type A Behavior Pattern (TABP) and cardiovascular function has been suggested. This study investigated interrater reliability of TABP and components in a bi-racial sample. In addition, the relationship of global TABP and two components, potential for hostility (PoHo) and preferred mode of anger expression (Anger-In), to cardiovascular parameters during three challenging tasks (Structured Interview (SI), video game (VG), and a cold pressor (CP) task) was determined using a multiple linear regression model. Of the 81 men comprising the study sample, 27 Black and 24 White men were classified as normotensive (NT) whereas, 13 Black and 17 White men were classified as mild to moderately hypertensive (MHT). All subjects were unmedicated.TABP and components were able to be reliably assessed Black and White men (r =.77 and.71 respectively). Correlations between raters were high for TABP and all components with the exception of a marginally lower correlation for PoHo in Black compared to White men (r =.75 vs.88).Global TABP and component scores were generally comparable between racial groups. However, Black men were rated lower on PoHo (p $<$.03) and were less verbally competitive (p $<$.001) than White men. Intercorrelations of TABP and PoHo was much stronger in White men (r =.63) than Black men (r =.21). Neither TABP nor component scores distinguished MHT from NT men.Regarding baseline values, after controlling for traditional risk factors, multiple linear regression revealed a negative relationship between PoHo and baseline systolic BP (SBP) in Black men (p $<$.023) which accounted for 19% of the variance. Global TABP was positively associated with baseline (diastolic BP (DBP)) in White men only (p $<$.001) but accounted for only 5% of the variance.Anger-In (AI) predicted reactivity. In racial group comparisons, AI predicted reactivity to the CP task in White men on all three criterion variables (SBP, p $<$.003; % Var. = 14; p $<$.033, % Var. = 14; HR, p $<$.09; % Var. = 26). In hypertensive status group comparisons, AI predicted reactivity during VG. For MHT men reactivity in HR was predicted (p $<$.01; % Var. = 31) whereas in NT men reactivity in DBP was predicted (p $<$.08; % Var. = 23).The data indicate: (a) Si-defined TABP and components were reliably measured in both Black and White men; (b) there were racial differences in relationships among PoHo, TABP, and baseline BP; (c) AI predicted reactivity in both racial and hypertensive status groups. These findings suggest that further investigation of sample and task characteristics is warranted.


Psychology, General

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