Awareness and causal attributions of risk factors for heart disease among immigrant women living in Australia

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Journal Article
Journal of Women's Health, 2009, 18 (9), pp. 1385 - 1393
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Objective: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally, and risk factors for CHD are associated with social and cultural attribution as well as individual psychological factors. The aims of this study were to explore the causal attributions of risk factors for CHD and to describe the relationship between their physiological status and causal attributions among immigrant Arabic, Turkish, and Iranian women living in Australia. Methods: Fifty-five women of Turkish, Iranian, and Persian backgrounds were recruited from community groups in metropolitan Sydney using snowball sampling and the assistance of bilingual health care workers. Body weight and blood pressure were assessed, and a questionnaire, including investigator-developed instruments and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale, was administered. Health interpreters assisted with study procedures and translation of study instruments. Results: There was a low level of awareness of the risk of heart disease among women, although participants had knowledge of risk factors for heart disease broadly. The most highly attributed risk factors for CHD among participants were obesity, physical inactivity, and psychological distress. Women who rated highly on psychological distress scores were more likely to attribute negative emotions as causative factors for heart disease. Conclusions: Strategies to promote the awareness of the association between heart disease and women are required among migrant women. Further investigation is required to overcome the barriers to engaging in effective risk minimizing behaviors for heart disease. © 2009 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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