Perceived susceptibility to chronic kidney disease among high-risk patients seen in primary care practices

J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Oct;24(10):1123-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-009-1086-6. Epub 2009 Aug 27.


Background: Patients' views of their risk for the development or progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are poorly characterized.

Objective: To assess perceived risk and concern regarding CKD development or progression among high-risk patients seen in primary care, identify predictors of perceptions, and correlate perceptions with adherence to high blood pressure management.

Design and participants: Cross-sectional study of 195 patients enrolled in a randomized controlled trial on hypertension management in 40 Maryland primary care practices.

Measurements: We assessed independent predictors (sociodemographics, health literacy, clinical presence of CKD, co-morbid conditions, and health behaviors) of perceived susceptibility (assessed via questionnaire) and adherence (assessed via Hill-Bone blood pressure adherence scale) in multivariable analyses.

Main results: In this hypertensive majority African American (63%) population, many participants had uncontrolled blood pressure (44%) or diabetes (42%). Few (20%) felt "very likely" to develop CKD and one third (33%) were "very concerned" about developing CKD. Participants who were female and had low health literacy had lower perceived susceptibility to CKD compared to males and those with higher health literacy. Race and diabetes were also associated with perceived susceptibility. Greater perceived susceptibility was associated with poorer blood pressure management adherence scores.

Conclusions: Many high-risk patients have low perceived susceptibility to CKD. Poor blood pressure therapy adherence scores among those with greatest perceived susceptibility suggest fatalistic attitudes about CKD. If our findings are confirmed in larger studies, interventions targeting patient perceptions of CKD risk and other attitudes associated with these perceptions could impact adherence to therapies and health outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept*