Abstract 296: The Effect of Migration on Cognitive Representations, Blood Pressure Level, and Dietary Habits in African Immigrant Women
Migration has been associated with increased risk of hypertension(HTN) through stressors associated with cultural change and health behavior. Like other immigrants, women arriving in good health have experienced health declines with increased time in the U.S. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of migration to, and residence in, the U.S. on the development and perceptions of HTN and dietary behavior (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH Diet)) using the Self-Regulation Model (SRM) of Leventhal et al. . This cross-sectional correlation research used two survey instruments (Women’s & Men’s hypertension Experiences & Emerging Lifestyle Survey (WHEELS) and Acculturative Stress Scale for International Students (ASSIS)) with a convenience sample of 91 Nigerian immigrant women (NIW) and a secondary data analysis of 38 African American women (AAW) from the WHEELS Study of 2008/2009 for comparison. Descriptive analysis was done on salient demographic variables for NIW and AAW. A t-test and ANOVA compared NIW and AAW and duration of residency in the U.S. with dependent variables (cognitive representations, blood pressure, and BMI). An important finding was that 63.7% (58 of 91) of NIW had BMI > 30 and 61.5% (56 of 91) had pre-HTN (SBP 120 to 139mmHg). Knowledge of HTN (HTNKNOW) and Cognitive Representation of Hypertension (CRHTN) were significantly increased in NIW by years of residency (p= .001 and .027 respectively). AAW had significantly higher HTNKNOW than NIW (p= .021). No significant differences were found for the CRHTN or Cognitive Representation of DASH Diet (CRDD) between AAW and NIW. However a significant difference was found in the CRDD dimension of perception representing knowledge ( p= .002). No differences were found in CRDD or its dimensions by years in the U.S. for NIW. An association exists between HTNKNOW and CRHTN and years of residence in the U.S., with none found with CRDD. Knowledge of the DASH diet was present in the NIW but there was no reflection of this in their BMI. There is a need to educate new immigrants of risk factors associated with HTN/CVD. A longitudinal study initiated on immigrants’ arrival in the U.S. is recommended to understand the trajectory of chronic illnesses such as hypertension.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.