Myths about arthritis are hypothesized to interfere with behaviors necessary to achieve Healthy People 2010 arthritis objectives. This study assessed beliefs about arthritis using the HealthStyles survey, a national survey of 3000 adults representative of the U.S. population. The 1999 HealthStyles data were analyzed to identify the prevalence of myths about arthritis overall, and among specific subpopulations.
Overall, less than half the respondents (48.2%) recognized that “seeing a doctor soon after the first signs or symptoms can help arthritis”. Approximately 40% of the respondents endorsed the myths “there is nothing a doctor can do for arthritis”, and “arthritis is just part of getting older.
However, there were significant (p.=.05) racial/ethnic differences in beliefs about arthritis, with minority populations more likely to endorse arthritis myths. African Americans and Hispanic respondents were more likely than Caucasians to endorse the nihilistic beliefs that there is nothing you, or a doctor, can do for arthritis. In addition, African Americans were significantly more likely to believe people with arthritis should not exercise; Hispanics were more likely to reject the idea that seeing a doctor early can help arthritis.
Other research has demonstrated that nihilistic beliefs are associated with low utilization of health services. Beliefs that exercise will make arthritis worse, or that seeing a doctor is not helpful can present barriers seeking early diagnosis or adopting appropriate management behaviors. Public health efforts to reduce health disparities will need to utilize interventions that address sub-population specific arthritis beliefs.
Learning Objectives: Describe racial/ethnic differences in beliefs about arthritis
Keywords: Arthritis, Ethnic Minorities
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA