Measuring comparative risk perceptions in an urban minority population: The risk perception survey for diabetes

Elizabeth A. Walker, Arlene Caban, Clyde B. Schechter, Charles E. Basch, Emelinda Blanco, Tara DeWitt, Maria R. Kalten, Maria S. Mera, Gisele Mojica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess comparative risk perceptions related to diabetes complications and their associations with patient characteristics in an urban minority sample. Methods: The authors developed the Risk Perception Survey. Diabetes Mellitus (RPS-DM) and administered the survey using a Solomon Four group design with a random half of a sample of 599 adults with diabetes. This was the baseline survey to measure comparative risk perceptions in a multiethnic sample prior to implementation of randomly assigned behavioral interventions to improve diabetic retinopathy screening rates. Results: The RPS-DM survey was completed by 250 participants (an 85% completion rate). Participants did not differ significantly by demographics from all other subjects. The sample included 62% women, mean age of 56.5 years, 42.4% Hispanic ethnicity, and 44% black race. The survey showed acceptable psychometric properties in English or Spanish and was feasible to complete by telephone in 12 to 15 minutes. Significant differences by subject characteristics were seen in several survey subscales, including Risk Knowledge by age (P ≤ .01) and annual income (P ≤ .05), Personal Control by educational level (P ≤ .05), and Optimistic Bias by birthplace (P ≤ .05) and educational level (P ≤ .01). An analysis of variance produced demographic models statistically significant (P ≤ .05) for Risk Knowledge, Personal Control, Environmental Risk, and Optimistic Bias. From 13% to 16% of the variance in the subscale scores was explained by these demographic models. Conclusions: The RPS-DM is the first instrument to measure comparative risk perceptions, including knowledge related to diabetes complications. These data are important for educators and researchers who wish to assess risk perceptions and tailor health/risk communications for their diabetes populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Educator
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)

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