Perceived threat of alzheimer's disease among Chinese American older adults: The role of alzheimer's disease literacy

Fei Sun, Xiang Gao, David Coon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objectives. Guided by a Sociocultural Health Belief Model (SHBM), this study examined the roles of cultural beliefs of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and scientific knowledge of AD in influencing the perceived threat of AD in a sample of Chinese American older adults. Method. With the input from focus groups of 17 older Chinese volunteers, survey questionnaires were refined and then delivered through face-to-face interviews to 385 participants aged 55-100 in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Results. Hierarchical regression analyses found that those aged 55-64 were more worried about AD than those aged 85 or older. Both cultural beliefs of AD and AD factual knowledge contributed to higher levels of perceived threat of AD. Education tended to moderate the effect of cultural beliefs of AD and AD knowledge on perceived threat of AD. Discussions. Findings support inclusion of key factors in the SHBM relevant to perceived threat of AD and help enrich the understanding of AD literacy from both scientific and cultural perspectives. AD education programs and interventions should help address crucial cultural beliefs related to AD and the emotional consequences (e.g., concerns or fear of AD) that might be due to the exposure to AD factual knowledge, particularly for those with limited education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Alzheimer's literacy
  • Chinese American elders
  • Knowledge of Alzheimer's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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