John Henryism, gender, and arterial blood pressure in an African American community.

Dressler, W.W., J.R. Bindon, and Y.R. Neggers. 1998. John Henryism, gender, and arterial blood pressure in an African American community. Psychosomatic Medicine, 60:620-624.

ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine the interaction between gender and John Henryism in relationship to arterial blood pressure in an African American community in the Southern United States. It was hypothesized that, within this specific social and cultural context, John Henryism would be associated with blood pressure differently for men and women. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 600 persons, aged 25 to 65, was conducted in the African American community of a small Southern city. John Henryism was assessed using the 12-item John Henryism Scale for Active Coping. Blood pressure was assessed by conventional methods. Results: The interaction effect between gender and John Henryism was assessed as a cross-product term in ordinary least squares regression analysis using arterial blood pressure as the dependent variable, and with logistic regression using hypertension as the dependent variable. This interaction effect was significant (p < .05) in relation to systolic blood pressure and hypertension, with the effect evident (p < .07) in relation to diastolic blood pressure. For men, as John Henryism increases, blood pressure and the risk of hypertension increases. For women, as John Henryism increases, blood pressure and the risk of hypertension decreases. Conclusions: The association of the behavioral disposition of John Henryism with blood pressure is dependent on the gender of the individual. Men and women face differing cultural expectations and social structural constraints in this community. The sociocultural context modifies the meaning of the behavioral disposition, and hence its effects.