Common perceptions about strokes

J Community Health. 2000 Feb;25(1):47-65. doi: 10.1023/a:1005140918066.


The frequency with which strokes occur and the devastating effects they can have make provision of general stroke information an essential element of public health education. This survey study sought to explore the general public's knowledge about various aspects of strokes. A questionnaire consisting of 4 open-ended, free-recall questions and 27 yes/no questions about the physiological processes, risk factors, warning signs, and functional consequences of strokes was administered orally to 190 individuals at a regional shopping mall. Additional items provided information about respondents' ages, ethnicity, educational status, and personal experiences with strokes. Free recall results indicated that approximately two-thirds of the survey respondents could provide correct or partially correct explanations of stroke physiology and could name at least one stroke warning sign; over 90% of respondents could name at least one stroke risk factor and one functional consequence of stroke. Most respondents reported acquiring information about strokes through personal acquaintances, popular media, or general life experiences rather than from professionals or as part of their formal schooling. Suggestions about needed content in general educational programs came from respondents' misconceptions about physiological processes, risk factors, warning signs, and functional consequences of strokes.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Information Services
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires