This study examined worry regarding seven major diseases and their correlates in a sample of African-American (n = 57), Native-American (n = 50), and Caucasian (n = 53) women ages 36 to 91 years. African-American and Native-American women were most worried about developing cancer (44% and 50%, respectively) while Caucasian women were most worried about osteoporosis (37%) and cancer (33%). Women from each ethnic group were more worried about developing cancer than cardiovascular diseases and conditions. African-American and Native-American women were more worried than Caucasian women about developing diabetes and high cholesterol. Body mass index (BMI) was a consistent correlate of worry: heavier women were more worried about developing diseases than were leaner women. Other risk factors (e.g., physical activity, blood pressure), however, were generally not associated with disease worry. In fact, age was inversely associated with worry regarding diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. Although women who were more worried about developing cancer were more likely to perform monthly breast self-exams, worry regarding other diseases was not associated with preventive actions. These results are generally consistent with other studies that indicate women are more concerned about cancer than cardiovascular diseases.
- Preventive behaviors
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