Past research has shown that low socioeconomic status (SES) and experiencing racial discrimination are both related to hypertension in African Americans. Further, low SES and racial discrimination have been found to affect hypertension indirectly through stress, low levels of psychosocial resources, and lifestyle risk factors in African American adults. Past studies have used the Reserve Capacity Model (RCM; Gallo & Matthews, 2003; 2005) to understand these relationships. The RCM asserts that stress can be mitigated by psychosocial resources (mastery, optimism, self-esteem) which lead to healthy lifestyle behaviors predictive of cardiac health. However, there are few studies that use the RCM to predict hypertension in African American adults. Additionally, the present investigation added discrimination along with low SES as an additional stressor that compounds the effects of poverty on health. We examined the mediational effects of RCM resources after low SES and discrimination experiences to predict health behavior (exercise) and hypertension in 1202 middle to older aged African Americans using structural equation modeling. Results showed that both low SES and perceived discrimination predicted a self-reported diagnosis of hypertension indirectly through levels of reserve capacity and exercise. These findings provide support for the Reserve Capacity Model as an explanatory framework for how social stressors affect health through modifiable psychosocial resources and health behaviors in middle to older aged African Americans.
School of Behavioral Health
Morton, Kelly R.
Flynn, Patricia M.
Martin, Leslie R.
Morrell, Holly E. R.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Hypertension; African-Americans; Race discrimination;
Subject - Local
Socioeconomic Status; Racial Discrimination; Lifestyle risk factors; Reserve Capacity Model
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Draper, Taylor L., "Hypertension in Older African Americans: Testing Psychosocial Mediators" (2016). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 376.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives