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Scand J Prim Health Care. 1997 Dec;15(4):198-202.

Health beliefs and heart disease risk among middle-aged Swedish men. Results from screening in an urban primary care district.

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Department of Community Medicine, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.



To study the relationship between individual health beliefs and risk factors for coronary heart disease.


Health beliefs indices, formed by factorial analysis of ratings of statements on health related matters in a questionnaire, were related to risk factors for coronary heart disease, assessed with physical examinations and self reports of medical history and habits.


An urban primary care district in Malmö, Sweden.


A random sample of middle-aged men, invited to a health check-up.


The participation rate was 453/705 (64%). "Perceived threat to health caused by illness" was positively related to previous information on high blood pressure, high plasma cholesterol, and/or diabetes (p = 0.01). In a model of logistic regression, adjusted for age, cohabitation, and previous medical history, health belief index on "threat to health" was related to low exercise habits (RR = 1.06, CI 1.01, 1.12). "Perceived control over illness" was related to high alcohol consumption (RR = 0.86, CI 0.75, 0.97), smoking (RR = 0.89, CI 0.79, 0.99), and high diastolic blood pressure (RR = 0.84, CI 0.75, 0.95).


This cross-sectional study demonstrates relations between health beliefs, previous health-related experiences, and risk behaviour. To explore the causality of the former, longitudinal studies of changes in health beliefs after medical information are required.

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