.. r some of the areas have not significantly affected the results of the study (Wilcox and Stefanick, 1999). Information about the women who filled out the survey was their age, marital status, education level and ethnic origins. The sample size used in this study was small and therefore race was not equally represented. The racial makeup of the sample group was made up of mostly Whites and there was a small percentage of Non-Whites in the study so the conductors of the study decided to divide the participants into two groups racially, Whites and Non-Whites, for all the “primary analyses” of the survey.
Other variables reported in the study that were measured were the risk factors women described in the survey that were relevant to CHD, breast cancer, colon cancer and other various health problems. For example when the conductors of the survey were assessing CHD risk factors, the women were asked about their health and whether or not they had any history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. Similar types of questions were asked on the survey regarding the other diseases listed above. The survey also had questions regarding what the women thought were the leading causes of death of women in certain age groups and gender groups. The survey was structured so that the women had to answer questions with specific answers for causes of death for each group by age and according to whether or not they were males or females. The women in the study were also questioned regarding their perceived general risk of a women getting a major disease they were asked to indicate the likelihood that a woman would get a major disease based on a rating system of numbers ranging from 1 to 5, 1 represented a very low chance of developing a disease and 5 was the highest chance of developing a major disease, this rating system is called the Likert scale.
The women also had to indicate the probability of developing each diseases and cancers specifically (McCaul, Schroeder, and Reid’s (1996)). The women participating in the survey were asked what they believed their own odds of developing a major disease in their lifetime were. Questions were also asked regarding what the participants thought were their ability to control the progression of a major disease after they were diagnosed and what they thought about the prevention of developing a major disease. Also women were asked about personal habits that can increase a person’s risk of disease such as did they smoke, exercise habits, family medical history, and personal health history. Survey participants had to answer questions regarding their knowledge of diseases by showing whether or not they agreed with certain statements and to what extent they either agreed or did not agree.
An example of the type of question they were asked is More women die of breast cancer each year than they do of lung cancer (Wilcox and Stefanick, 1999). Using the Likert scale again they participants were asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement. The researches used the number selected on the Likert scale from 1 to 5 as answers to the questions to evaluate the answers in order to develop results of participant’s knowledge of specific diseases and their mortality and other related factors. Next the participant’s answers to the survey questions were analyzed. The analysis for participant’s awareness of deaths due to specific diseases was done by examining the answers to the questions to determine if the percentage of correct answers and these were compared to the target groups the questions pertained to in order to determine if there were any variations based on target groups. Also the perceptions of the participants were analyzed on the subject of general risk, personal risk, control and preventability concerning the diseases mentioned in the survey.
To do this the researchers used analytical methodologies to evaluate the independent variables and dependent variables in the survey. Due to some participants answers to questions regarding risk factors in the survey some participants were not included in the analysis. Some of the women had already developed some of the diseases the survey was based on so they could not be used in the analysis. The results of the study can not be used for the general population of middle age or older women because the sample of 200 women from the San Francisco Bay area did not contain a well rounded group. The sample used did not include participants in varied groups representative of educational levels, different economic backgrounds or ethnic diversity.
In regards to participant’s knowledge of the causes death for the different target groups, the percentages of accuracy varied from one target group to the another. The participants were more likely to know the causes of death for older men than for older women, and were more likely to know the causes of death for younger groups included in the survey than for women in general. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into what women know about serious diseases i.e., CHD, lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and genital organ cancer and the risk factors associated with developing these diseases. Also the researchers were attempting to determine how women see their own chances of developing a serious disease and what they know about deaths due to the above-mentioned diseases in the survey and applying their knowledge across groups of men and women and various age groups. The study was also focused on bringing to light the knowledge levels of the women surveyed and at the same time the results can be used to determine areas where the health care field may be able to focus on, to improve health behaviors. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into what women know about serious disease and what they know about causes of death and risk factors as they relate to the diseases looked at in the survey and applying their knowledge across groups of men and women of various age groups.
I have to say that article did not offer a lot in the way of usable information on the general population of women because the sample size was small, mostly White, highly educated women. Low income, other education levels and ethnic groups were not adequately represented. But I guess it is a start in the direction of learning what women know and how to help them learn better health behaviors. References American Heart Association. (1997). 1997 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update.
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