This study investigated (i) whether compassion is associated with blood pressure or hypertension in adulthood and (ii) whether familial risk for hypertension modifies these associations.
The participants (N = 1112–1293) came from the prospective Young Finns Study. Parental hypertension was assessed in 1983–2007; participants’ blood pressure in 2001, 2007, and 2011; hypertension in 2007 and 2011 (participants were aged 30–49 years in 2007–2011); and compassion in 2001.
High compassion predicted lower levels of diastolic and systolic blood pressure in adulthood. Additionally, high compassion was related to lower risk for hypertension in adulthood among individuals with no familial risk for hypertension (independently of age, sex, participants’ and their parents’ socioeconomic factors, and participants’ health behaviors). Compassion was not related to hypertension in adulthood among individuals with familial risk for hypertension.
High compassion predicts lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure in adulthood. Moreover, high compassion may protect against hypertension among individuals without familial risk for hypertension. As our sample consisted of comparatively young participants, our findings provide novel implications for especially early-onset hypertension.