Back Dr. Yasmina Okan's research shows that a false sense of confidence in blood pressure knowledge may lead to health risks
Dr. Yasmina Okan's research shows that a false sense of confidence in blood pressure knowledge may lead to health risks
The study, led by the University of Southern California, shows that false confidence about one’s own knowledge of blood pressure undermines intentions to seek care
High blood pressure damages blood vessels, increases the risk of heart failure, and leads to other health problems, especially in patients with other diseases. However, diagnosing high blood pressure can be difficult due to the absence of symptoms, and patients may lack confidence in their understanding of blood pressure values. This research sought to assess knowledge of optimal blood pressure values in individuals with and without hypertension, and examine how knowledge about blood pressure and confidence in such knowledge influence intentions to seek medical care. To this end, a survey was conducted involving 6,592 adults from the US population, including 1,342 with hypertension without comorbidities and 795 with hypertension and comorbidities. The survey was run through the University of Southern California’s Understanding America Study.
The results showed that most survey participants failed to correctly identify the threshold for healthy blood pressure, yet many were overly confident in their knowledge. Independently of whether participants had accurate knowledge, confidence in knowledge motivated intentions to seek care for stage 2 hypertension blood pressure readings, but undermined intentions to seek care for stage 1 hypertension blood pressure readings. The researchers highlight that a false sense of confidence may undermine intentions to act and highlight the need to improve patient communications and raise awareness through campaigns by health authorities and information provided by health professionals to prevent high blood pressure and its consequences.
The study was published in the journal Medical Decision-Making and involves researchers from the University of Southern California, the University of Pittsburgh, Washington University in St Louis, and The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Okan, Y., Krishnamurti, T., & Huffman, M. D. (2023). The Role of Confidence and Knowledge in Intentions to (Not) Seek Care for Hypertension: Evidence From a National Survey. Medical Decision Making, 43,461-477. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272989X221148196