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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2012, Article ID 426803, 6 pages
Research Article

Depressive Symptoms and 24-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Africans: The SABPA Study

1Psychobiology Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK
2Department of Psychiatry and School of Nursing, McGill University CHUM Research Center, QC, Canada
3Montreal Heart Institute Research Center, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7
4Unit for Drug Research and Development, Division of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
5Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART), School for Physiology, Nutrition, and Consumer Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa

Received 2 June 2011; Revised 3 August 2011; Accepted 17 August 2011

Academic Editor: Tavis S. Campbell

Copyright © 2012 Mark Hamer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Disturbances in circadian rhythm might play a central role in the neurobiology of depression. We examined the association between depressive symptoms and 24-hour ambulatory BP in a sample of 405 (197 black and 208 Caucasian) urbanized African teachers aged 25 to 60 yrs (mean 44.6 ± 9.6 yrs). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the self-administered 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). After adjusting for age, sex, and ethnicity, participants with severe depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 ≥ 15) had higher odds of hypertension defined from ambulatory BP and/or use of antihypertensive medication (odds ratio = 2.19, 95% CI, 1.00–4.90) in comparison to participants with no symptoms. Compared to Caucasians with no depressive symptoms, those with severe symptoms had blunted nocturnal systolic BP drop of 4.7 mmHg (95% CI, −0.5 to 10.0, ). In summary, depressive symptoms were associated with the circadian BP profile in black and Caucasian Africans.