Socio-Ecological Stress, Suppressed Hostility, Skin Color, and Black-White Male Blood Pressure: Detroit

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Four areas in Detroit were selected by factor analysis of all census tracts as varying widely in socio-ecological stressor conditions. High Stress areas were marked by rates of low socio-economic status, high crime, high density, high residential mobility, and high rates of marital breakup; Low Stress areas showed the converse conditions. All areas were racially segregated. The sample in each area provided about 125 married males, living with spouse, aged 25-60, with relatives in the city. Blood pressure levels were highest among Black High Stress males and showed no difference among Black Low Stress and White areas. Suppressed Hostility (keeping anger in when attacked and feeling guilt if one's anger is displayed when attacked) was related to high blood pressure levels and percent hypertensive for Black High Stress and White Low Stress males; Black Low Stress men with high pressures were associated with anger in but denying guilt. White High Stress high readings were most associated with guilt after anger. For Blacks, skin color was related positively to blood pressure and High Stress males had darker skin color than Black middle class males. Black High Stress men with dark skin color and suppressed hostility had the highest average blood pressure of all four race-area groups.

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