Gender differences in views about cognitive health and healthy lifestyle behaviors among rural older adults

Bei Wu, R. Turner Goins, James N. Laditka, Valerie Ignatenko, Eric Goedereis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose:Research suggests that men and women often differ in knowledge and beliefs about causes and treatments of a variety of diseases. This study examines gender differences in views about cognitive health and behaviors that have been associated with its maintenance, focusing on older adults living in rural areas.Design and Methods:We conducted 6 focus groups in rural West Virginia. Participants included 37 women and 30 men, aged 55 years and older.Results:Men and women held similar views of cognitive decline, as well as largely similar views about causes of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, women were more concerned about developing AD than were men. Gender differences were also noted with respect to healthy lifestyle beliefs, including diet, leisure-time physical activity, and strategies to maintain cognitive health.Implications:Findings illustrate the importance of considering gender with respect to health beliefs, health behaviors, and health promotion, and emphasize the need to develop interventions designed for specific populations. Results highlight a critical need to translate research findings to the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S72-S78
JournalGerontologist
Volume49
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Cognitive decline
  • Health beliefs
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Knowledge
  • Qualitative
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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