A test of the John Henryism hypothesis: Cholesterol and blood pressure

William H. Wiist, John M. Flack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The personality predisposition "John Henryism" (JH) is a self-perception that one can meet demands of the environment through hard work and determination. The JH scale measures "efficacy of mental and physical vigor, commitment to hard work, and determination to reach one's goals." Previous research found an increased prevalence of hypertension among African-Americans with high JH scores and low socioeconomic status (SES). Six hundred fifty-three adult African-Americans in a church-based cardiovascular risk factor screening program completed the JH questionnaire. The prevalence of cholesterol ≥240 mg/dl was highest (27%) among the high-JH/low-SES group when adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index. High JH/low SES was not associated with a greater prevalence of high blood pressure. Findings of this study suggest the need for additional research on John Henryism, socioeconomic factors, and cardiovascular risk among randomly selected samples of geographically and economically diverse African-Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1992


  • African-Americans
  • John Henryism
  • blood pressure
  • cholesterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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