Is social support associated with hypertension control among Ghanaian migrants in Europe and non-migrants in Ghana? The RODAM study

Gertrude Nsorma Nyaaba*, Karien Stronks, Karlijn Meeks, Erik Beune, Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Juliet Addo, Ama de-Graft Aikins, Frank Mockenhaupt, Silver Bahendeka, Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch, Liam Smeeth, Charles Agyemang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Hypertension (HTN) control is crucial in preventing HTN-related complications such as stroke and coronary heart disease. Yet, HTN control remains suboptimal particularly among sub-Saharan African (SSA) populations partly due to poor self-management. Self-management of HTN is influenced by social support, but the evidence on the role of social support on HTN control particularly among SSA populations is limited. This study assessed the association between multiple proxies for social support and HTN control among Ghanaians resident in Ghana and Europe. The Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (RODAM) study participants with HTN and who self-reported HTN (n = 1327) were included in this analysis. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between proxies of social support and HTN control (SBP < 140 mmHg and DBP < 90 mmHg) with adjustments for age and socioeconomic status (SES). Among Ghanaian males in both Europe and Ghana, cohabiting with more than two persons was associated with increased odds of having HTN controlled. Male hypertensive patients cohabiting with ≥ 5 persons had the highest odds of having HTN controlled after adjustment for age and SES (OR 0.30; 95% CI 0.16–0.57; 0.60; 0.34–1.04, respectively). This association was not observed among females. Relationship status, frequency of religious activity attendance and satisfaction with social support did not show any significant association with HTN control. Our study shows that cohabitation is significantly associated with HTN control but in males only. The other proxies for social support appeared not to be associated with HTN control. Involving persons living with Ghanaian men with HTN in the treatment process may help to improve adherence to HTN treatment. Further research is needed to explore in-depth, how these social support proxies could contribute to improved HTN control among SSA populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-966
Number of pages10
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Ethnic minority groups
  • Europe
  • Ghana
  • Hypertension control
  • Migrant health
  • Social support
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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