Psychological factors influencing cardiovascular risk reduction behavior in low and middle income African-American women

J A Walcott-McQuigg
Journal of National Black Nurses' Association: JNBNA 2000, 11 (1): 27-35
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for women, especially, African-American women in the United States. In fact, it is reported that each year, 39% of all deaths in women are from coronary heart disease (CHD). Further, 1 out of every 5 women in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 1998, 500,037 women died from CVD. In 1997, the morality for CHD for females was 236,468; representing 491 of all deaths for this disease. Among women, African-American women have a death rate for CHD almost four times higher than their White counterparts. Several factors influence the risks for African-American women. African-American women are more likely to be obese and to participate in lower rates of cardiovascular risk reduction behavior (diet control, exercise, weight management) than Caucasian women. Few studies explore psychological factors influencing African-American women's participation rates in cardiovascular risk reduction behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of psychological factors (self-concept, self-efficacy to diet and exercise, and stress) on cardiovascular risk reduction behavior in low and middle-income African-American women. A questionnaire measuring self-concept, self-efficacy to diet and exercise, and stress was self-administered by middle-income women and investigator administered to low-income women. Findings revealed that self-efficacy to diet and exercise were positively correlated with cardiovascular risk reduction behavior in both groups. Additionally, middle-income women with higher levels of self-concept and lower body mass index were more likely to participate in the risk reduction behavior. Findings have implications for tailoring cardiovascular risk reduction interventions to African-American women of varying socioeconomic status (SES).

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