John Henryism and blood pressure differences among black men.
A community probability sample of southern working-class, black men (N = 132) between 17 and 60 years of age was administered a scale to measure the degree to which they felt they could control their environment through hard work and determination. Since the legend of John Henry--the famous, black steeldriver of American folklore--can be understood as a cultural statement about how black Americans must often attempt to control behavioral stressors through hard work and determination, items for the scale were developed to reflect the theme of John Henryism. It was hypothesized that men scoring below the median on education but above the median on John Henryism would have higher blood pressures than any other group. The data were in line with the prediction, in that men who scored low on education and high on John Henryism had significantly higher diastolic blood pressures than men who scored above the median on both measures. Study findings are discussed in terms of the meaning that education and John Henryism may have for raising or lowering autonomic arousal when individuals encounter behavioral stressors in everyday life.
James, SA; Hartnett, SA; Kalsbeek, WD
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