Fear of diseases among people over 50 years of age : a survey
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between well-known diseases and fear of them in individuals over 50 years of age. Information on the fear of diseases can be relevant for both public health information purposes and clinical setting diagnostics. However, very few studies have investigated the fear of diseases in individuals over the age of 50. We used an electronic survey method and asked individuals older than 50 to report their fear of eight different diseases. Fear of diseases was the outcome measure. A 10-point Likert scale questionnaire was used to assess the fear of contracting different diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, HIV, depression, diabetes, skin disorders (eczema and psoriasis), and chronic pain. There were 376 respondents. Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease were associated with the most fear. Fear of these two diseases was significantly higher than for other diseases (p = 0.01). Age had no significant impact on the fear of diseases (p = 0.68). Of the 376 respondents, 39% reported a strong fear (10 points) of Alzheimer’s disease, whereas 30% reported a strong fear of cancer. Only 2% reported a strong fear of cardiovascular disease. This study suggests that cancer and Alzheimer’s disease evoke the most fear.
Published version. Source at http://doi.org/10.15714/scandpsychol.3.e19