Performing bystander CPR for sudden cardiac arrest: behavioral intentions among the general adult population in Arizona

Resuscitation. 2009 Mar;80(3):334-40. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2008.11.024. Epub 2009 Jan 20.


Study objectives: The odds of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are significantly improved by the provision of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but many cardiac arrest victims do not receive it. The existing literature remains equivocal as to why people are unwilling to perform traditional CPR. This study's objectives were to determine the behavioral intentions of the general population in Arizona regarding performing bystander CPR and to assess the reasons for being unwilling to perform CPR.

Methods: This was a general population survey using a mailed, self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was mailed to random samples of Arizona residents in a rural and urban county.

Results: Usable questionnaires were received from 49.5% (n=370) and 49.6% (n=385) of the samples from the urban and rural county, respectively. More than 50% of respondents reported being willing to perform CPR on a stranger and over 80% reported being willing to perform CPR on a family member. There were no significant differences between the proportions of respondents in each county willing to perform CPR. The reasons for not being willing to perform CPR were relatively evenly divided among the five reasons listed.

Conclusions: Although our findings likely overestimate the proportion of individuals who would perform bystander CPR, the relative importance of the reasons for not performing CPR is informative. Based on the reasons reported, there is potential to change the CPR-related attitudes, beliefs, and skill levels of the general public to enhance the number of people willing and able to perform bystander CPR.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arizona
  • Attitude*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / psychology*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population