The perception and knowledge of cardiovascular risk factors among Chinese Americans
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate Chinese Americans’ perceptions and knowledge about cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and to determine if acculturation has systematic effects on perception of illness. Perception about the cause, seriousness, curability, and controllability of CVD were investigated. Relationships between the demographic characteristics of the participants and cardiovascular knowledge and perception were examined. The conceptual framework for this study was based on Leventhal’s (1970, 1984) Common Sense Model of Illness Representation. The influence of Kleinman’s Explanatory Model about the cultural and social consideration of illness representation was incorporated. A cross-sectional design was selected for this descriptive study with a convenience sampling technique. The target population was community-based Chinese Americans who live in the United States. Data collection was conducted using the Internet to access a population. The sample of the study was comprised of 124 adults with 68% being female. The majority of participants retained a high Asian identity. Participants identified Chinese over English for speaking, reading, writing preferences. Instruments included the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised (IPQ-R), Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA) and the Healthy Heart IQ. Findings included the following: the IPQ-R subscales were intercorrelated in a logical manner. Illness perceptions correlated positively with each other but were negatively correlated with optimistic perceptions like personal and treatment control. No difference was observed in the IPQ-R based on age, gender or educational level. Knowledge of CVD among Chinese Americans was lower than the general population. The level of acculturation had an impact on the illness perception. Acculturation level was significantly related to all seven illness perception dimensions of illness representation on the IPQ-R. There were significant relationships between acculturation level and knowledge of CVD. However, due to the low acculturation level presented by majority of participants, caution must be exercised in the interpretation of the study findings. The findings of this study have important implications for nursing practice, education, and theory. These results also provide directions for future research. Suggestions for health care professionals who care for patients with ethnic cultural backgrounds were given.