Date of this Version
Am J Public Health. 2006;96:812–817
Objectives. We investigated the odds of hypertension for Black men in relationship to their socioeconomic position (SEP) in both childhood and adulthood.
Methods. On the basis of their parents’ occupation, we classified 379 men in the Pitt County (North Carolina) Study into low and high childhood SEP. The men’s own education, occupation, employment status, and home ownership status were used to classify them into low and high adulthood SEP. Four life-course SEP categories resulted: low childhood/low adulthood, low childhood/high adulthood, high childhood/low adulthood, and high childhood/high adulthood.
Results. Low childhood SEP was associated with a 60% greater odds of hypertension, and low adulthood SEP was associated with a 2-fold greater odds of hypertension. Compared with men of high SEP in both childhood and adulthood, the odds of hypertension were 7 times greater for low/low SEP men, 4 times greater for low/high SEP men, and 6 times greater for high/low SEP men.
Conclusions. Greater access to material resources in both childhood and adulthood was protective against premature hypertension in this cohort of Black men. Though some parameter estimates were imprecise, study findings are consistent with both pathway and cumulative burden models of hypertension.