Apparent treatment-resistant hypertension (aTRH) is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. aTRH is common and disproportionately affects African Americans. The objective of this study is to explore psychosocial correlates of aTRH in a population-based cohort of African Americans with hypertension. The sample included 1392 participants in the Jackson Heart Study with treated hypertension who reported being adherent to their antihypertensive medications. aTRH was defined as uncontrolled clinic BP (⩾140/90 mm Hg) with ⩾3 classes of antihypertensive medication or treatment with ⩾4 classes of antihypertensive medication, including a diuretic. Self-reported medication adherence was defined as taking all prescribed antihypertensive medication in the 24 h before the study visit. The association of psychosocial factors (chronic stress, depressive symptoms, perceived social support and social network) with aTRH was evaluated using Poisson regression with progressive adjustment for demographic, clinical and behavioural factors. The prevalence of aTRH was 15.1% (n=210). Participants with aTRH had lower social network scores (that is, fewer sources of regular social contact) compared with participants without aTRH (P<0.01). No other psychosocial factors differed between groups. Social network was also the only psychosocial factor that was associated with aTRH prevalence in regression analyses. In age-, sex-adjusted and fully adjusted models, one additional unique source of social contact was associated with a 19% (PR=0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.68-0.94, P=0.001) and a 13% (PR=0.87; 95% CI 0.74-1.0, P=0.041) lower prevalence of aTRH, respectively. Social network was independently associated with aTRH and warrants further investigation as a potentially modifiable determinant of aTRH in African Americans.