Friday, July 13, 2007
This presentation is part of : Innovations in Health Promotion
The relationship between heart disease representation and health related behaviors
Candace C. Cherrington, PhD, RN, Miami Valley College of Nursing & Health, Wright State Univeristy, Dayton, OH, USA and Mary Hysell Lynd, BSN, MSN, PhD, College of Nursing and Health, Wright State Univeristy--Miami Valley, Dayton, OH, USA.
Learning Objective #1: describe the relationship between heart disease representation and; tobacco use, salt intake, level of exercise and BMI.
Learning Objective #2: describe the relationship between the atttibutes of heart disease representation and; tobacco use, salt intake, level of exercise and BMI.

Despite significant advances in treatment, heart disease (HD) remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Atherosclerosis, the primary etiology of HD, is largely dependent upon modifiable risk factors. Risk factor reduction requires that the affected individual believe that they are at risk for atherosclerosis and HD and are willing to actively participate in risk reduction behavior. The Self-Regulation Model of Illness (SRMI) provides a theoretical explanation for the beliefs utilized by individuals who engage in risk reduction health-related behavior. Bishop (1991) labels these beliefs as Disease Representation. There is a paucity of research examining disease representation of heart disease in the general population The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between disease representation of heart disease, the attributes of disease representation, and health related behaviors. A university web magazine story and emails to faculty and staff on the university listserve were utilized for recruiting subjects for the web-based survey. The sample (n129) was comprised of faculty, staff, and students. Point biserial, Spearman rank-order and Person product moment correlations were calculated, No significant association between disease representation in general and any of the health related behaviors; tobacco (rpb.05, p.31), dietary salt (rs -.13, p.07), level of exercise (rs -.03, p.39) or BMI (r.08, p.18) was found. A significant association between level of exercise and perceived consequences (rs -.18, p.02) of heart disease representation and BMI and perceived identity (r.15, .04) of heart disease representation were found. The strength of the relationships were weak, level of exercise explained 3.2% of the variance in perceived consequences of heart disease, BMI explained 2.3% of the variance in identity of symptoms of heart disease. These data are highly significant. The general population lacks a clear perception of heart disease and the importance of health related behavior.