Abstract WP176: Racial Differences in Perceived Risk, Self-efficacy, and Fear of Stroke
Introduction: Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, yet awareness of stroke risk factors, warning signs and symptoms remain low. Perceptions of risk affect health behavior: higher perceived risk leads to increased behavioral change to lower risk. Within a population representative of ischemic stroke patients, we sought to evaluate racial differences in perceived risk and fear of stroke, as well asself-efficacy to modify risk.
Methods: Telephone survey respondents were drawn from our biracial population of 1.3 million using random-digit dialing to reflect the age, race, and gender distribution of stroke patients, based an ongoing stroke incidence study in the same region. Selected questions from the validated Risk Behavior Diagnosis Scale assessed respondents’ perception of personal risk, self-efficacy, and fear of stroke, using a modified Likert scale assigning 1 point for strongly agree and 5 points for strongly disagree.
Results: Analysis was restricted to1959 of 2036 respondents contacted in 2010 who were of black or white race. Respondents were matched to previous descriptions of ischemic stroke populations: 28% black, 61% female, with a mean age of 66.3(± 14.7). Overall, respondents thought controlling blood pressure reduces stroke risk and they had the skills to reduce their blood pressure. However, fear and perceived risk of stroke was significantly lower among blacks than whites, after adjusting for age, education, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, coronary artery disease and prior stroke.
Discussion: The general public believes stroke is a severe condition, and they have the skills to control blood pressure and lower their risk for stroke. Blacks were less likely to believe stroke is extremely harmful and had lower personal risk of stroke compared to whites after adjusting for confounders. Future public awareness campaigns should focus on communicating personal risk and severity of stroke, especially to black communities.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.