Abstract 17315: Comparing Knowledge and Attitudes about CHD Prevention Among Older Women Prior to and After a Cardiac Event
Purpose: Risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) are at epidemic proportions among older women but few recognize their actual risk. Our purpose was to compare and contrast knowledge and attitudes concerning CHD prevention among older women without a CHD diagnosis with those who had experienced a cardiac event.
Method: Using a mixed-methods design, we measured standard cardiac risk factors to determine actual risk and obtained measures of self-perceived risk among 20 older women, 6-12 months post cardiac event, and 24 community-dwelling women (≥60 years) without a CHD diagnosis. Semi-structured individual qualitative interviews were conducted to query about knowledge and attitudes regarding CHD prevention and risk. Narratives were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content analysis. Next, constant comparison was used to compare and contrast findings between the two groups with the quantitative risk measures for convergence/divergence of data.
Results: Of the 44 women, 30% were African-American and 64% had some college education, with a mean age of 72 years. Despite a mean of 5.84 vs. 4.46 CHD risk factors (event vs. no CHD) indicating “high-risk” for both groups, personal risk perceptions were unrealistically low: 4.47 vs. 1.95 (0-10 scale). Narrative data indicated a general lack of understanding in both groups regarding risk factors and lifestyle behaviors that would reduce probability for experiencing a cardiac event. Few engaged in lifestyle risk factor modification and felt limited control of their health or did not think change was necessary. Most felt that taking daily medications and visiting their Provider were sufficient. They tended to rely on their Provider to recommend behavior changes and did not recall their Provider discussing risk factors or recommending lifestyle modifications.
Conclusions: Results provide information that is critically important from which to derive interventions that facilitate primary and secondary prevention for older women with and without CHD. Tailored interventions that consider knowledge and attitudes about CHD risk and risk factors are needed to promote lifestyle behavior modification.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.