Elevated blood pressure and personality: a meta-analytic review

Randall S. Jorgensen, Syracuse University
Blair T. Johnson, Syracuse University
Monika E. Kolodziej, University of Massachusetts Medical School
George E. Schreer, Syracuse University

At the time of publication, Monika Kolodziej was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


A meta-analysis of 295 relevant effect sizes obtained from 25,469 participants confirmed expectations that elevated blood pressure (BP) and essential hypertension (EH) would be associated with lower affect expression but with more negative affectivity and defensiveness. The strongest associations occurred for defensiveness and measures of anger and affect expression linked to an interpersonal context(s). However, a number of other factors also were found to moderate associations of BP with personality measures, including awareness of BP status, gender, occupation, and diastolic versus systolic BP assessment. Given these moderators, the authors conclude that a traditional view of personality causing EH is untenable and that, not incorporating multifactorial, synergistic approaches is likely to obscure associations of personality-behavior with EH.