The Influence of Psychosocial and Cognitive Factors on Perceived Threat of Alzheimer’s Disease
This study explored psychosocial and cognitive predictors of perceived threat of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Respondents were 1641 adults (mean age: 64.4; 54% female; 82% white) who completed a module in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative survey of adults aged ≥50. Findings show that perceived threat was significantly higher for those aged 50 to 64 (P < .001) and 65 to 74 (P < .05) than for those ≥75. Respondents with a family history of AD had significantly greater perceived threat (P < .001) than those with no experience. Stronger endorsement of the beliefs that stress (P < .01) or genetics (P < .01) are important AD risk factors was significantly associated with greater perceived threat, as was having more depressive symptoms (P < .01), poorer self-rated memory (P < .01), and lower cognitive function (P < .01). Personal experience moderated the relationship between perceived threat and 2 variables: age and self-rated memory. Understanding perceived AD threat may inform practice and policies centered on early and accurate diagnosis.