Thursday, July 22, 2004
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Thursday, July 22, 2004
2:30 PM - 3:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Posters I
Health Schemata: Biasing Symptom Reporting
Judith F. Karshmer, PhD, ARNP, College of Nursing, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
Learning Objective #1: n/a
Learning Objective #2: n/a

Health Schemata are theoretical cognitive constructs in memory that can account for the ways in which people attend to and perceive their symptoms and monitor physiological states. This research was deigned to explore how these schemata may be established and under what conditions they bias perceptions. One hundred male and female participants monitored their "cofactin" blood levels (blood glucose was actually measured) and self-reported symptoms twice a day, four times a week, for four weeks. Three information conditions were created that varied facts about the ways "cofactin" was related to symptoms. In addition, whether subjects reported their symptoms before or after they monitored their "cofactin" levels was also varied. Correlations were computed between "cofactin" levels and symptoms and the development of this relationship over time.

Findings indicate that health schemata can be established which create expectations about how symptoms and physiological state should be related. Differing information conditions influenced the nature of the "cofactin-symptom" correlations. The order of symptom reporting and measuring "cofactin" also produced an effect: more subjects were biased in their symptom reporting when they knew their cofactin levels before they had to report their symptoms than when the order was reversed. In addition, subjects’ judgments about their physiological states were biased. More subjects had significant correlation between predicted cofactin levels and symptoms than between their actual blood glucose levels and symptoms. It is argued that expectations influence people’s ability to accurately asses symptoms and/or physiology.

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Back to 15th International Nursing Research Congress
Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004