Knowledge of Risk Factors and Warning Signs among African American Women

Debby K. Bridgeman, Gardner-Webb University


Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. It affects more than 795,000 people and cost greater than 38 billion dollars annually. Women experience stroke more than men, and African Americans have been found to have greater risk for stroke. Many strokes can be prevented through recognition and the control of risk factors. Stroke awareness includes having knowledge of risk factors and understanding how to control the risk. Additionally, recognition of stroke warning signs and symptoms is essential to early intervention, treatment, and reduction of disability and death. The purpose of this study was to examine African American women's knowledge of stroke risk factors and warning signs. A descriptive quantitative survey design was utilized to answer the study question. A convenience sample (n= 33) of African American women from a suburban town in South Carolina, a county located in the southeastern region of the United States, was included in this study. Leventhal's Common Sense Model was utilized as the theoretical framework to determine the ability of a person to appraise their stroke risk and to establish coping methods for the prevention or treatment seeking behaviors. The results of the study may provide a better understanding of the educational needs of minority groups specifically those of women and racial/ethnic groups.