Objectives: Anxiety and other psychological dispositions are thought to be associated with blood pressure. This study tests whether personality traits have long-term associations with masked and white-coat effects.
Methods: A community-based sample of 2838 adults from Sardinia (Italy) completed the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, and 7 years later, blood pressure was assessed in the clinic and with ambulatory monitoring. Logistic regressions were used to test whether anxiety, neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness predicted the white-coat and masked hypertension phenomena. Age, sex, and antihypertensive medication use were tested as moderators.
Results: Significant interactions were found between personality traits and antihypertensive medications in predicting masked and white-coat effects. Only among those taking antihypertensive medication, higher anxiety was associated with a higher risk of pseudo-resistant hypertension due to white-coat effect (odds ratio 1.39, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.91) and higher conscientiousness was associated with a lower risk of masked uncontrolled hypertension (odds ratio 0.70, 95% confidence interval 0.49-0.99). There were no significant interactions with age or sex.
Conclusions: Among those on antihypertensive medications, anxious individuals were more likely to have pseudo-resistant hypertension due to white-coat effect and less conscientious individuals were at increased risk of masked uncontrolled hypertension. Particularly among anxious and less conscientious individuals, ambulatory monitoring may improve the tailoring of pharmacological treatments.
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