Social support and hypertension among blacks and whites in a rural, southern community.
The association between social support and the prevalence of hypertension was examined in a randomly selected, biracial sample of 2,030 adult residents of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, who were surveyed in 1980. Two types of support, instrumental and emotional, were measured and evaluated in the 2,009 individuals for whom complete data were available. Blacks were more likely to have low levels of both kinds of social support. Low emotional support was unrelated to the prevalence of hypertension. In unadjusted analyses, low instrumental support was associated with increased hypertension for both races. After controlling for other correlates of blood pressure, the association no longer held for whites (odds ratio (OR) = 1.1), but remained statistically significant for blacks (OR = 1.5, 95 per cent confidence interval = 1.1-2.0). Further analyses revealed that these results were specific to low income blacks (OR = 1.7). These findings are consistent with the results of ecologic studies of social ties and hypertension-related mortality in North Carolina.
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