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Diabetic Medicine
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 25  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 811 - 817

The impact of different time frames of risk communication on Type 2 diabetes patients' understanding and memory for risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

K. G. Asimakopoulou, C. Fox, J. Spimpolo, S. Marsh and T. C. Skinner    

Abstract: Aims  We examined the impact of communicating risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, using three time frames (1, 5 or 10 years), on Type 2 diabetic (T2D) patients' understanding of risk of CHD/stroke and their memory for these risks.

Methods  Patients (N = 95) estimated their risk of developing CHD/having a stroke as a result of diabetes, in one of three time frames. Using the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study Risk Engine and the same time frame, patients were then given individualized, objective risk estimates of developing CHD/stroke. Following explanation of these risks, patients' risk understanding was examined by asking them to report again their risk of developing CHD/stroke. Six weeks later we assessed patient memory for these risks by asking them to recall their actual risk estimates for CHD/stroke.

Results  In all time frames, we successfully reduced participants' originally inflated risk perceptions of CHD (F1,92 = 73.01, P < 0.001) and stroke (F1,91 = 119.05, P < 0.001), although the 10-year risk group was the most resistant to correction for both CHD (F1,90 = 9.32, P < 0.001) and stroke (F2,88 = 3.97, P < 0.02). Participants' recall of their stroke risk at 6 weeks regressed towards original, inflated risk perceptions for the 10-year group only (F4,176 = 4.73, P < 0.001).

Conclusion  Patients' inflated perceptions of CHD/stroke risk can be easily corrected using shorter (1- or 5-year) risk communication time frames.

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