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Storytelling may help control blood pressure in African-Americans
Date:1/18/2011

he first such study that based a health intervention for hypertensive African Americans on positive, culturally sensitive storytelling.

"Overall," the authors wrote, "Among the 300 patients randomized, we found a difference in blood pressure favoring the intervention group, and the significance of this difference was driven by the positive effect among those with uncontrolled blood pressure. Patients with uncontrolled hypertension who were randomized to the intervention group experienced a 10 mmHg advantage in systolic blood pressure reduction relative to control Meaningful advantages were also found for diastolic pressure among the uncontrolled substrata. Blood pressures for both groups subsequently increased over time, but the relative advantage for the intervention group was maintained until the end of follow up."

What accounts for the result? Although there is no direct evidence about the mechanism by which the intervention worked, the researchers believe that the DVDs provided a "parasocial" interaction, one that rendered the viewer of the messages more susceptible to behavior change. "In prior hypertension work, wetranslated patient stories into re-enactments using trained actors using high production quality in studio. To maximize [the] para-social interaction [in this study], we enhanced the realism of the current intervention by purposefully avoiding the studio, taping patients in the actual hypertension clinic."


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Contact: Mark Shelton
mark.shelton@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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