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To assess public perceptions of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors.
Discrete choice experiment questionnaire.
Six provincial centres in Northern Ireland.
1000 adults of the general public in Northern Ireland.
The general public's perception of CHD risk factors. The effect of having risk factor(s) on that perception.
Two multinomial logit models were created. One was a basic model (no heterogeneity permitted), while the other permitted heterogeneity based on respondents’ characteristics. In both models individuals with very high cholesterol were perceived to be at the highest risk of having a coronary event. Respondents who reported having high cholesterol perceived the risk contribution of very high cholesterol to be greater than those who reported having normal cholesterol. Similar findings were observed with blood pressure and smoking. Respondents who were male and older perceived the contribution of age and gender to be lower than respondents who were female and younger.
Respondents with different risk factors perceived such factors differently. These divergent perceptions of CHD risk factors could be a barrier to behavioural change. This brings into focus the need for more tailored health promotion campaigns to tackle CHD.