Perception of recurrent stroke risk among black, white and Hispanic ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack survivors: The SWIFT study

Bernadette Boden-Albala, Heather Carman, Megan Moran, Margaret Doyle, Myunghee C. Paik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Risk modification through behavior change is critical for primary and secondary stroke prevention. Theories of health behavior identify perceived risk as an important component to facilitate behavior change; however, little is known about perceived risk of vascular events among stroke survivors. Methods: The SWIFT (Stroke Warning Information and Faster Treatment) study includes a prospective population-based ethnically diverse cohort of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack survivors. We investigate the baseline relationship between demographics, health beliefs, and knowledge on risk perception. Regression models examined predictors of inaccurate perception. Results: Only 20% accurately estimated risk, 10% of the participants underestimated risk, and 70% of the 817 study participants significantly overestimated their risk for a recurrent stroke. The mean perceived likelihood of recurrent ischemic stroke in the next 10 years was 51 ± 7%. We found no significant differences by race-ethnicity with regard to accurate estimation of risk. Inaccurate estimation of risk was associated with attitudes and beliefs [worry (p < 0.04), fatalism (p < 0.07)] and memory problems (p < 0.01), but not history or knowledge of vascular risk factors. Conclusion: This paper provides a unique perspective on how factors such as belief systems influence risk perception in a diverse population at high stroke risk. There is a need for future research on how risk perception can inform primary and secondary stroke prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-87
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011



  • Health beliefs
  • Risk perception
  • Stroke knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this