College students oftentimes underestimate their risk perception of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study examined undergraduate students' perception of efficacy and perception of threat of cardiovascular disease. A paper survey was distributed to three undergraduate student classes (n = 127; 66.9% female; 33.1% male; 83.5% White/Caucasian; M age = 20.00). This 17-item survey assessed demographics, perception of general health, perception of efficacy of cardiovascular disease, and perception of threat of cardiovascular disease. Analyses included Cronbach's alpha, descriptive, frequencies, and independent sample t-test. College students have a higher perception of efficacy (M = 24.45 out of 30.00; SD = 4.35) and a lower perception of threat (M = 21.83 out of 30.00; SD = 2.99). This was consistent with previous literature that showed that young adults continue to rate their risk as lower than average. Males were shown to have a mean perception of efficacy of 25.21 (SD = 4.64) and a threat of 22.02 (SD = 2.82) Females were shown to have a mean perception of efficacy of 24.06 (SD = 4.17) and a threat of 21.74 (SD = 3.09). This resulted in no significant difference between males and females in risk perception of heart disease. The majority of students rated their health as `very good' (54.8%) while 30.2% rated their health as `fair,' 14.3% of students rated their health as `excellent' and 0.8% of students rated their health as `poor.' This is consistent with the results that the students in this study had a higher rate of efficacy of cardiovascular disease. Students did not perceive their threat of cardiovascular disease as highly as they perceived their efficacy of cardiovascular disease. Additional studies should be done on the risk perception of cardiovascular disease in college students and the risk perception behaviors of males and females. Education is important in preventing cardiovascular disease and learning the risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
Date of Degree
Master of Science (MS)
Allied Health and Nursing
Kolas, A. (2014). Risk Perceptions of Cardiovascular Disease in College Students [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/301/
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