Association of depressive symptoms and social support on blood pressure among urban African American women and girls

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Purpose:The purpose of this study was to explore the associations between depressive symptoms and perceived social support on blood pressure in African American women.Data sources:This cross-sectional study was conducted among 159 African American women from multiple sites in the Detroit Metro area.Conclusions:Results from this study found that both higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure were positively associated with higher depressive symptom scores (r= .20 and .18, p < .05). Higher depressive symptoms scores were, in turn, significantly associated with lower social support scores (r=–.44, p < .001). However, total social support scores were not significantly correlated with blood pressure readings. Higher depressive symptom scores were associated with increased systolic blood pressure independent of social support.Implications for practice:Findings of the present study suggest the importance of appropriate social support to help alleviate depressive symptoms. However, to effectively control blood pressure in patients with depressive symptoms, other pathophysiologic mechanisms between depressive symptoms and elevated blood pressures independent of social support should be examined in future research. Future studies should consider a cohort design to examine the temporal relationship of depressive symptoms, social support, and blood pressure readings.

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