Organizational religious activity, hypertension, and sexual orientation: Results from a nationally representative sample


Lamb, Kalina M.; Nogg, Kelsey A.; Rooney, Benjamin M.; & Blashill, Aaron J. (2018). Organizational religious activity, hypertension, and sexual orientation: Results from a nationally representative sample. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. vol. 52 (11) pp. 930-940


Background: Hypertension is a major public health concern, given prevalence and morbidity. Among the general population, greater religious attendance is associated with lower blood pressure (BP). However, no known studies have examined the association between religious attendance and BP among sexual minorities.PurposeTo examine the association between BP/hypertension and organizational religious activity as a function of sexual orientation. Methods: Data were utilized from Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a publicly available, U.S. nationally representative data set. Of the 4,874 individuals included in analyses, 366 participants were identified as a sexual minority. An organizational religious activity variable was created by summing responses of two separate items. BP was measured as systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Increasing levels of clinical severity of hypertension were also examined. Relevant covariates were controlled for in two separate models. Significant interactions between religious attendance and sexual orientation were explored in simple slope analyses. Results: Overall, results indicated that sexual orientation moderated the association between organizational religious activity, and BP/hypertension. Crossover interactions were present for the dependent variables SBP, DBP, and prehypertension and higher (prehypertension, and hypertension 1 and 2). Generally, a negative association between organizational religious activity and hypertension was revealed among the heterosexual group, whereas a positive association was found among the sexual minority group. Conclusions: Organizational religious activity is differentially associated with BP/hypertension among sexual minority versus heterosexual individuals. Organizational religious activity may represent a risk factor for hypertension among sexual minority individuals.




Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Annals of Behavioral Medicine


Lamb, Kalina M.
Nogg, Kelsey A.
Rooney, Benjamin M.
Blashill, Aaron J.

Year Published


Volume Number


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February 14, 2018



Reference ID