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Stress, coping, and health outcomes among African-Americans: a review of the John Henryism hypothesis

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The John Henryism (JH) hypothesis argues that prolonged high-effort coping with chronic psychosocial stressors may be associated with elevated risk for negative health outcomes among those without sufficient socioeconomic resources. Early JH studies found a significant association between high JH, low socioeconomic status, and hypertension among African-Americans. More recently, these findings have been extended to a wide array of health status outcomes, including cardiovascular reactivity, neurohormonal secretion, and negative health behaviors. The present review provides a comprehensive overview of JHs conceptual bases and empirical support. Limitations of the construct are discussed and recommendations are made to guide future theoretical and research efforts in the area.
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Keywords: Coping; Ethnicity; John Henryism; Socioeconomic status (SES); Stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Society Human Development and Health Harvard School of Public Health 677 Huntington Ave 7th Floor Boston MA 02115 2: National Institute on Aging 3: Duke University Medical Center 4: Pennsylvania State University

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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