Disease knowledge, perceived risk, and health behavior engagement among adolescents and adults with congenital heart disease.

Jackson JL, Tierney K, Daniels CJ, Vannatta K
Heart Lung 44 39-44 01/01/2015


OBJECTIVE: Survivors of congenital heart disease (CHD) are at risk for life-threatening complications as they age. This study aimed to examine the association of knowledge of future health risks, perceived risk, and health behaviors among adolescents and adults with CHD.

METHODS: CHD survivors (N = 200, ages 15-39; 23% simple, 44% moderate, 33% complex lesions) completed measures of risk knowledge accuracy and perceived risk for developing complications, and reported physical activity and saturated fat intake.

RESULTS: CHD survivors reported poor risk knowledge and consuming high-fat diets. Adolescents reported more physical activity than young adults. Greater risk knowledge was associated with lower fat intake, and participants who exercised more expected fewer future complications, and this difference remained statistically significant when accounting for education and age.

CONCLUSIONS: CHD survivors, regardless of age, have poor risk knowledge and diets. Survivors may benefit from emphasis on future health risks and health behaviors from both pediatric and adult providers.

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