Relationships between depressive symptoms, anxiety, alcohol consumption, and blood pressure: Results from the CARDIA study

Rhonda Jones-Webb, David R. Jacobs, John M. Flack, Kiang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Objectives: We examined cross-sectional relationships among depressive symptoms, anxiety, alcohol intake, and blood pressure. Test hypotheses were that: (1) alcohol intake, depressive symptoms, and anxiety would be positively related to blood pressure; (2) depressive symptoms and anxiety would have a stronger association with alcohol intake in Blacks than in Whites; and (3) adjustment for differences in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and alcohol intake would reduce Black-White blood pressure differences. Methods: Study hypotheses were tested in a sample of 4,352 Black and White adults, participating in the CARDIA study. Hypotheses were tested using multiple linear regression. Results: Alcohol intake was positively related to systolic (p = 0.0001) and diastolic (p = 0.0004) blood pressure in men, but not in women. Depressive symptoms and anxiety were unrelated to blood pressure. The relationship between alcohol intake and depressive symptoms differed by race/ethnicity in men (p = 0.0719) and in women (p = 0.0002). Alcohol intake increased with increasing levels of depressive symptoms, but the increase was greater in Blacks than in Whites. After accounting for alcohol intake, body mass index, and other variables, Black-White blond pressure differences were reduced in men, but not in women; most of the reduction was caused by body mass index. Conclusions: Blacks may respond differently than Whites to psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


  • Alcohol Intake
  • Anxiety
  • Blacks
  • Blood Pressure
  • Depressive Symptoms


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