Factors that influence personal perceptions of the risk of an acute myocardial infarction

Behav Med. Spring 2000;26(1):4-13. doi: 10.1080/08964280009595748.


Personal risk perceptions of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) affect people's preventive health behaviors as well as their beliefs during a heart attack episode. The authors investigated factors that are associated with personal risk perceptions of having an AMI. A random-digit-dial survey was conducted among 1294 respondents, aged 18 years or older, in 20 communities across the nation as part of the Rapid Early Action for Coronary Treatment (REACT) trial. Results of two mixed-model linear regression analyses suggested that worse perceived general health, more risk factors, and greater knowledge were associated with greater perception of AMI risk. The results also showed that women who answered, incorrectly, that heart disease is not the most common cause of death for women in the United States reported significantly lower risk perceptions than women who answered this question correctly. The findings in this study suggest that interventions need to target specific misconceptions regarding AMI risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health* / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / ethnology
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control*
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States