Publication Details

Asimakopoulou, K., Skinner, T. C., Spimpolo, J., Marsh, S. & Fox, C. (2008). Unrealistic pessimism about risk of Coronary Heart Disease and stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes. Patient Education and Counseling, 71 (1), 95-101.


OBJECTIVE: We examined the accuracy of type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients risk estimates of developing Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)/ having a stroke as a consequence of diabetes and their mood about these risks. METHODS: Patients reported their perceived risks of developing CHD/ having a stroke and rated their mood about these risks using a self-report measure. Using an objective risk calculator, they were then told their actual risk of CHD and stroke and their mood was re-assessed. RESULTS: Patients estimates of their risk of CHD / stroke were grossly inflated. A negative relationship between disease risk and mood was also seen where higher risk of actual and perceived CHD/stroke was related to worse mood. A positive relationship between mood and extent of perceptual error was further observed; the more inaccurate patients perceptions of CHD/stroke risk were, the better their mood. Mood improved after patients were given accurate risk information. CONCLUSION: T2D patients are unrealistically pessimistic about their risk of developing CHD/ stroke. These risks and the extent of perceptual risk error are associated with mood, which improves upon providing patients with accurate risk information about CHD / stroke. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: These results have implications for the routine communication of risk to T2D patients.



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