Stress management intervention for primary prevention of hypertension: detailed results from Phase I of Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP-I).


Journal Article

PURPOSE: Stress Management Intervention (SMI) was one of seven nonpharmacologic approaches evaluated in Phase I Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP-I) for efficacy in lowering diastolic blood pressure (BP) in healthy men and women aged 30 to 54 years with diastolic BP 80-89 mm Hg. METHODS: A total of 242 and 320 participants were randomized to SMI or an "assessment only" SMI Control, respectively, at four clinical centers. The SMI consisted of 37 contact hours in 21 group and two individual meetings over 18 months and included: training in four relaxation methods, techniques to reduce stress reactions, cognitive approaches, communication skills, time management, and anger management within a general problem-solving format. Standardized protocols detailed methods and timing for collecting BP, psychosocial measures, and urinary samples from both SMI and SMI Control participants. RESULTS: In intention-to-treat analyses, although significant baseline to termination BP reductions were observed in both groups, net differences between the SMI and SMI Control groups' BP changes (mean (95% CI)) were not significant: -0.82 (-1.86, 0.22) for diastolic BP, and -0.47 (-1.96, 1.01) for systolic BP. Extensive adherence sub-group analyses found one effect: a significant 1.36 mm Hg (p = 0.01) reduction in diastolic BP relative to SMI Controls at the end of the trial for SMI participants who completed 61% or more of intervention sessions. CONCLUSIONS: While the TOHP-I SMI was acceptable to participants as evident from high levels of session completion, the absence of demonstrated BP lowering efficacy in intention-to-treat analyses suggests that the TOHP-I SMI is an unlikely candidate for primary prevention of hypertension in a general population sample similar to study participants. The isolated finding of significant diastolic BP lowering in SMI participants with higher adherence provides very weak evidence of SMI BP lowering efficacy and may be a chance finding. Whether similar or other stress management interventions can produce significant BP lowering in populations selected for higher levels of BP, stress, or intervention adherence remains to be demonstrated.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Batey, DM; Kaufmann, PG; Raczynski, JM; Hollis, JF; Murphy, JK; Rosner, B; Corrigan, SA; Rappaport, NB; Danielson, EM; Lasser, NL; Kuhn, CM

Published Date

  • January 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 45 - 58

PubMed ID

  • 10658688

Pubmed Central ID

  • 10658688

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1047-2797

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s1047-2797(99)00041-1


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States