Ethnic variation in attitudes toward hypertension in adults ages 75 and older

Jorge A. Ontiveros, Sandra A. Black, Patricia L. Jakobi, James S. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background. Although critical to the management of hypertension the attitudes of geriatric patients and possible ethnic group differences in attitudes concerning the disease are poorly understood. Methods. Data from a 1995-1996 population-based survey of 507 Hispanic American, African American, and non-Hispanic white adults ages 75 and older were used to assess ethnic differences in perceptions regarding the cause, prevention, and treatment of hypertension, as well as associations between perceptions and use of preventive health services. Results. African Americans were more likely to attribute hypertension to health behaviors and stress. In contrast, Hispanic Americans were more likely consider the disease a normal part of aging, whereas non-Hispanic whites were more likely to attribute hypertension to heredity or mechanistic causes. Non-Hispanic whites were less likely to perceive hypertension as preventable, whereas Hispanic Americans were less likely to feel that hypertension was treatable. The odds of having a primary care physician, blood pressure checked, or glaucoma checked were lower among older African Americans and Hispanic Americans than older non-Hispanic whites. The odds of having had a recent physical and of emergency room use were higher among African Americans and lower among Hispanic Americans, in relation to non-Hispanic whites. Conclusion. Ethnic differences regarding hypertension were clearly evident in this sample of older adults. In addition, attitudes regarding the cause and treatment of hypertension were found to be associated with both the use and the underuse of preventive health services in all three ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number6 I
StatePublished - 1999


  • African Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Hypertension
  • Non- Hispanic whites
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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