Predictors of nocturnal blood pressure blunting in adolescents

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Patrice G. Saab - Committee Chair


Individual differences in blood pressure response to sleep have been shown to have pathological relevance. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is a means of measuring blood pressure during sleep and is feasible with juvenile populations. It has been shown that demographic, behavioral and psychological variables may play important roles in the individual differences in nighttime blood pressure. One purpose of this study was to confirm the feasibility of categorizing adolescents as "dippers" and "non-dippers". In addition, it aimed to examine the relationships between nocturnal blood pressure and ethnicity, physical activity, stress and diet. Participants consisted of 105 adolescents (52 dippers and 53 non-dippers) between the ages of 15 and 17 recruited from Miami-Dade county public schools.For a number of macronutrients, dippers differed significantly from non-dippers with dippers ingesting a greater amount than non-dippers. Non-dippers often had intakes lower than that of the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) recommendations. Ambulatory blood pressure values were significantly correlated with left ventricular mass index. There were no significant differences involving ethnicity, physical activity and stress in direct relation to nocturnal blood pressure.The above results support the idea that adolescents can be classified by nocturnal blood pressure patterns as adults have been in previous literature. The complex relationship between nighttime blood pressure and demographic and behavioral factors lends itself to a theoretical model of nocturnal blood pressure proposed in this study. The model includes demographic factors such as ethnicity and SES and behavioral/lifestyle variables like diet, stress, and physical activity in predicting nocturnal blood pressure and ultimately, target organ changes. Future research should consider an inclusive model such as the one proposed when exploring nocturnal blood pressure and its risk factors.


Psychology, Physiological

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