This study explores social and economic influences on health within a model formulated to explicitly address both individual and household level phenomena. Dresslers lifestyle incongruity model is used as a basis from which to predict the effects of intracultural contexts of variability on blood pressure.
The sample for this survey consists of 134 Samoan men and women living in American Samoa. Based on previous experience and ethnographic sources, two key intracultural contexts were examined: gender, i.e., male female differences in response to psychosocial stress, and household employment as indicated by whether or not both spouses in a household are employed. Our analysis indicates that lifestyle incongruity, defined as the difference between the material culture presented by a household and the economic resources of the family, is significantly associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Furthermore, males and females show opposite blood pressure associations with both lifestyle incongruity (male blood pressures increase with increasing incongruity while female blood pressure does not) and household employment (male blood pressure is higher when both spouses work but female blood pressure is lower).