202601 “I guess it comes from being stressed out”: Examining perceptions of stress and coping among African American mothers based on the hypertension risk of their adolescent child

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tracy R. Nichols, PhD , Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Conner Evans, BA , Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA
Tiffany Morton, MS , Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greeensboro, NC
Tara Flint, BS , Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greeensboro, NC
Margaret Savoca, PhD , Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greeensboro, NC
Transmission of stress-related practices from parent to child may influence future hypertension risk of young African Americans. To learn more, we conducted separate interviews with 56 mothers of children (17-20 year olds). Mothers were selected based on children's pre-identified hypertension risk profiles. Children were high risk [HR] as defined by having at least two of three risk factors (SBP>113 mm Hg, BMI>85th percentile, and change in sodium excretion (UNAV [mEq/hr]) from baseline to post stress ≤0) or low risk [LR] (SBP<108 mm Hg, BMI between 15th and 85th percentiles, and change in UNAV from baseline to post stress >0). Participants described stress beliefs and sources of stress in audio-taped interviews, later transcribed and coded. Variable-based analyses were used to categorize maternal views and compare these by child's risk category. Results indicate that mothers' stress beliefs and experiences vary with the hypertension risk categories of their child. Two thirds of HR mothers believed stress was a primary cause of HTN compared to a third of LR mothers. Half of LR mothers reported having little stress in their lives in comparison to 7% of HR mothers. Sources of stress also differed among mothers. Work conflict was a common source of stress for all mothers, however HR mothers reported health concerns, spousal conflicts, finances, and being a sole caregiver for disabled family member as sources of stress. This presentation examines differences in maternal stress and how the awareness of these distinctions can impact efforts to tailor interventions for pre-hypertensive African American adolescents.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to (1) explain how hypertensive risk of young African American adults are associated with maternal stress experiences, and (2) discuss the importance of considering maternal stress experiences when tailoring interventions for pre-hypertensive young African Americans

Keywords: African American, Hypertension

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a doctorate in developmental psychology and have conducted research on adolescent health and preventive interventions for 20 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.