Public perceptions of myocardial infarction: do illness perceptions predict preferences for health check results

Åsa Grauman, Jennifer Viberg-Johansson, M Falahee, Jorien Veldwijk

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Illness perceptions are associated with attitudes towards preventive behaviors and are therefore crucial to consider in the context of prevention of cardiovascular diseases. We investigated illness perceptions of the public about myocardial infarction, and whether they predict public preferences for health check test results.

A randomly selected sample (N = 423) of the Swedish public aged 40–70 completed an online-survey. It included the brief illness perception questionnaire, items assessing sociodemographic, lifestyle and health factors and a discrete choice experiment incorporating six attributes of health checks (written results, notification method, consultation time, waiting time, lifestyle recommendation and cost). Associations between illness perceptions and sociodemographic- and cardiovascular risk factors were analyzed using multivariate linear regression. Preference data were analyzed with a mixed multinomial logit model.

Presence of smoking, hypertension, obesity and lack of physical activity were associated with weaker causal beliefs for the relevant risk factor, while presence of a high stress level was associated with stronger causal beliefs for stress. Low control predicted unwillingness to receive lifestyle recommendations. Attributing family history as the most important personal cause of MI predicted unwillingness to participate in health checks.

Illness perceptions differed due to presence of risk factors, age, sex and health literacy. Furthermore, illness perceptions influenced preferences for health check test results and willingness to participate in health checks. Illness perceptions should therefore be addressed when designing health communication and preventive interventions such as health checks, and methods for promoting accurate illness perceptions should be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101683
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Early online date24 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Causal beliefs
  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Health check
  • Illness perception
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Preferences
  • Public


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