Effects of age, hypertension history, and neuroticism on health perceptions

Alan B. Zonderman, Victoria L. Leu, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of measured blood pressure, history of hypertension diagnosis, age, and neuroticism on number of somatic complaints and self-rated health were examined in a sample of 970 non-health-care-seeking adult men and women. Significant differences in number of somatic complaints and self-rated health were found due to age, neuroticism, and history of hypertension diagnosis. Measured blood pressure, however, was unrelated to both measures of health perception. With the exception of the effect of neuroticism on somatic complaints, the effects of the independent variables on health perceptions were rather small in magnitude and explained only small proportions of the variance. Age differences had a particularly weak effect on health perceptions, accounting for less variance than either neuroticism or history of hypertension diagnosis. A significant interaction of neuroticism with awareness of hypertension was found, but only for number of somatic complaints. These results suggest that hea;th perception is a complex, multidimensional construct. The relatively weak influence of hypertension diagnosis on health perception may account for the difficulties in maintaining patient compliance with antihypertensive treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-458
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • age differences
  • awareness of hypertension
  • health perceptions
  • hypertension
  • neuroticism
  • psychological distress
  • self-rated health
  • somatic complaints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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