Public opinion about Alzheimer disease among blacks, hispanics, and whites: results from a national survey

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2007 Jul-Sep;21(3):232-40. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e3181461740.


Recent research has documented notable differences in knowledge, awareness, and cultural beliefs about Alzheimer disease (AD) among groups defined by race and ethnicity. The present study was conducted to assess racial differences in knowledge and attitudes about AD among a national sample of adults. Data from 1,176 adults aged 35 years and over (48.6% White, 25.7% Black, and 25.8% Hispanic) obtained via telephone interview were used in this study. Although some notable group differences defined by race/ethnicity were observed, more similarities in patterns of response were discovered than expected. Black and Hispanic respondents were significantly more likely to believe that AD is a normal part of aging, but were more optimistic about future advances in research than White participants. Compared with White and Black respondents, Hispanics were more likely to report feeling well-prepared for handling a diagnosis of AD in a family member. Overall, the results suggest that misconceptions about AD remain among large segments of the population, that AD remains a source of significant concern, and that continued efforts are needed to educate the public about this disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / ethnology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Opinion*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Whites / psychology*