Does coping mediate the relationship between personality and cardiovascular health in African Americans?

Keith E. Whitfield, Charles Jonassaint, Dwayne Brandon, Mike Stanton, Regina Sims, Gary Bennett, Joyti Salva, Christopher L. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined traits or behaviors that may predispose some African Americans to poor cardiovascular health outcomes. While several models of personality exist, the 5-factor model (FFM) is arguably the best representation of personality and provides a useful framework for the study of personality and health. Among personality characteristics associated with health risks among African Americans, a high-effort coping style called John Henryism is among the most thoroughly examined. It is not clear if personality coping and health are connected in a meaningful way. The present study utilized data from the Baltimore Study of Black Aging (BSBA) to examine whether personality was linked to John Henryism, how personality might be linked to cardiovascular health, and how John Henryism might mediate the relationship between personality and cardiovascular health. The sample consisted of 234 older African Americans (mean age, 67 years), 28% of which were men. Regressions were used to examine the questions. The results indicated that those who are more neurotic report more cardiovascular health problems, and that openness and conscientiousness were significant predictors of active coping. The mediation analysis results suggest that coping style did not mediate the relationship between personality and reports of cardiovascular health problems. These findings highlight the importance of personality in accounting for cardiovascular health in African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • African Americans
  • Cardiovascular
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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