Health beliefs and heart disease risk among middle-aged Swedish men. Results from screening in an urban primary care district

Scand J Prim Health Care. 1997 Dec;15(4):198-202. doi: 10.3109/02813439709035028.


Objective: To study the relationship between individual health beliefs and risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Design: Health beliefs indices, formed by factorial analysis of ratings of statements on health related matters in a questionnaire, were related to risk factors for coronary heart disease, assessed with physical examinations and self reports of medical history and habits.

Setting: An urban primary care district in Malmö, Sweden.

Subjects: A random sample of middle-aged men, invited to a health check-up.

Results: The participation rate was 453/705 (64%). "Perceived threat to health caused by illness" was positively related to previous information on high blood pressure, high plasma cholesterol, and/or diabetes (p = 0.01). In a model of logistic regression, adjusted for age, cohabitation, and previous medical history, health belief index on "threat to health" was related to low exercise habits (RR = 1.06, CI 1.01, 1.12). "Perceived control over illness" was related to high alcohol consumption (RR = 0.86, CI 0.75, 0.97), smoking (RR = 0.89, CI 0.79, 0.99), and high diastolic blood pressure (RR = 0.84, CI 0.75, 0.95).

Conclusion: This cross-sectional study demonstrates relations between health beliefs, previous health-related experiences, and risk behaviour. To explore the causality of the former, longitudinal studies of changes in health beliefs after medical information are required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden
  • Urban Health*