Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Hypertension labelling, life events and psychological well-being

Torbjørn Mouma1 c1, Siri Næssa1, Tom Sørensena1, Kristian Tambsa1 and Jostein Holmena1

a1 Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, University of Oslo; Institute of Applied Social Research, Oslo; Psychiatric Clinic VIA, Ullevaal Hospital, Oslo; National Institute of Public Health, Verdal, Norway


Almost all previous studies of the psychological sequelae of hypertension labelling have lacked a prospective, longitudinal design which could allow for causal interpretations. The present study relies on questionnaire data from a hypertension screening carried out on the entire adult population of a medium-sized, Norwegian county (total number of participants = 74977). ‘Labelled’ individuals, i.e. previously unaware hypertensives (N = 173), false positives (N = 233), and patients in need of continued BP control (N = 474) have been followed up after 1–3 years, and comparisons are made with aware hypertensives (N = 206), patients previously treated for hypertension (N = 118), and a random sample of normotensives (N = 2326). ‘Pre-labelling’, baseline measures of subjective well-being had been carried out on all comparison groups in connection with the screening. Changes in psychological well-being are not significantly related to labelling or BP-status. However, there is a deterioration in psychological well-being among participants who have been subjected to one or more negative life events/stresses (other than labelling) in the preceding 12 months.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Torbjorn Mourn, Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, PO Box 1111, Blindern, 0317 Oslo 3, Norway.