Exploring research participants' perceptions of cardiovascular risk information-Room for improvement and empowerment

Patient Educ Couns. 2019 Aug;102(8):1528-1534. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.03.010. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


Objective: The objective of this study was to explore research participants' (adults, age 50-65) perceptions of receiving cardiovascular risk information.

Methods: Five focus group interviews (N = 31) were performed with research participants aged 50-65 who participated in the Swedish CArdioPulmonary BioImage Study (SCAPIS). The interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: The categories; the complexity of cardiovascular risk; insufficient presentation of test result; emotional responses; and health examinations provides confirmation, emerged. The test results were written in medical terms and lacked recommendations for further action which made it difficult for lay people to understand and use, and for some, also caused unnecessary worry.

Conclusion: There was inadequate guidance concerning the implications of the test results, especially for participants without clinical findings. In order to allow research participants to obtain better cognitive and behavioral control, improvements are needed with regard to how personal risk information is communicated in research projects connected to health services.

Practical implications: The participants largely relied on physical signs when assessing their own cardiovascular risk. Health examinations are crucial for helping to add nuance to individuals' risk perceptions. For personal health information to have any real value for individuals, it must be designed from a user perspective.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Cardiovascular risk information; Health examinations; Qualitative research; Risk perception.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Empowerment
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden