Influence of Positive Life Events on Blood Pressure in Adolescents

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Abstract

It has been reported that adults suffering from refractory essential hypertension experience significantly fewer positive life events than healthy peers. However, the influence of positive life events on blood pressure (BP) in adolescents has been largely ignored. Therefore, we examined the relationship between self-reported positive life events and BP in 69 sixth graders with a mean age of 11.7 years. Positive life events were assessed with the Adolescent Perceived Events Scale and resting blood pressure was measured with a mercurial sphygmomanometer. Correlational analyses showed an inverse relationship between positive life events and diastolic BP, suggesting that adolescents experiencing more positive life events were more likely to have lower diastolic BP's. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that physical activity level, dietary sodium-to-potassium ratio, parental history of hypertension, and measures of body composition predicted 24.6% of the variance in systolic BP and 34.6% of the variance in diastolic BP. Moreover, positive life events predicted an additional 4.3% of the variance in diastolic BP when statistically controlling these established risk factors for hypertension. These results suggest that increased perceptions of positive life events may act as a buffer to elevated BP in adolescents.

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