Disease-specific knowledge in individuals with and without chronic conditions
Knowledge about chronic conditions may be a basis to enable coping with them more effectively. However, more research is needed to examine whether knowledge levels in chronically ill individuals are superior to levels of those without chronic conditions. Our aim was to investigate differences in disease-specific knowledge in individuals with and without specific chronic conditions.
Subject and methods
A stratified and population-based sample of 4,144 individuals from Germany aged 35 and older with and without chronic conditions formed the basis of the investigation. Knowledge was measured using a validated health knowledge test with six subscales on specific conditions, namely cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, conditions of the musculoskeletal system, major depression, and chronic pain.
We found better knowledge in those suffering from respiratory diseases and musculoskeletal system conditions, no difference in those with cardiovascular diseases and depression, and lower values of disease-specific knowledge in individuals with chronic pain compared to those without the respective chronic condition. Results were adjusted for gender, age, education, health literacy, and other conditions.
People suffering from chronic conditions do not necessarily know more about their conditions. Better knowledge in individuals with respiratory diseases and diseases of the musculoskeletal system may be due to tailored health education. The unexpected effect in chronic pain patients may be related to false beliefs about the nature of their condition. Health education programs should address disease-specific barriers.
KeywordsHealth knowledge Health literacy Multimorbidity
This material is based on work conducted and supported by the Pfizer Deutschland GmbH. Any findings and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pfizer Deutschland GmbH.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
PG has received research grants and a speaker honorarium from Pfizer Deutschland GmbH. MK is employee at Pfizer Deutschland GmbH. None of the other authors has any conflicting interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Breivik H, Eisenberg E, O’Brien T, OPENMinds (2013) The individual and societal burden of chronic pain in Europe: the case for strategic prioritisation and action to improve knowledge and availability of appropriate care. BMC Public Health 13:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458/13/1229 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- French DP, Cameron E, Benton JS, Deaton C, Harvie M (2017) Can communicating personalised disease risk promote healthy behaviour change? A systematic review of systematic reviews. Ann Behav Med. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-017-9895-z
- Gellert P, Tille F (2015) What do we know so far? The role of health knowledge within theories of health literacy. Eur Health Psychol 17:266–274Google Scholar
- Huttner B, Goossens H, Verheij T, Harbarth S, on behalf of the CHAMP consortium (2010) Characteristics and outcomes of public campaigns aimed at improving the use of antibiotics in outpatients in high-income countries. Lancet Infect Dis 10:17–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(09)70305-6 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kesänen J, Leino-Kilpi H, Lund T, Montin L, Puukka P, Valkeapää K (2016) The knowledge test feedback intervention (KTFI) increases knowledge level of spinal stenosis patients before operation: a randomized controlled follow-up trial. Patient Educ Couns 99:1984–1991. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2016.07.025 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lima H, Gonçalves A, Silva A, Olivo A, Miura T, Martins L (2015) The patient’s knowledge about hypertension: an analysis based on cardiovascular risk. Int J Cardiovasc Sci 28:181–188Google Scholar
- Nijs J, Roussel N, van Wilgen PC, Koke A, Smeets R (2013) Thinking beyond muscles and joints: therapists’ and patients’ attitudes and beliefs regarding chronic musculoskeletal pain are key to applying effective treatment. Man Ther 18:96–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2012.11.001 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sørensen K, van den Broucke S, Fullam J, Doyle G, Pelikan J, Slonska Z, Brand H, on behalf of the European Health Literacy Consortium (2012) Health literacy and public health: a systematic review and integration of definitions and models. BMC Public Health 12:1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-80 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sørensen K, van den Broucke S, Pelikan J, Fullam J, Doyle G, Slonska Z, Kondilis B, Stoffels V, Osborne RH, Brand H, on behalf of the HLS-EU Consortium (2013) Measuring health literacy in populations: illuminating the design and development process of the European health literacy survey questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q). BMC Public Health 13:1–10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-948 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Taioli E, Joseph GR, Robertson L, Eckstein S, Ragin C (2014) Knowledge and prevention practices before breast cancer diagnosis in a cross-sectional study among survivors: impact on patients’ involvement in the decision making process. J Cancer Educ 29:44–49. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-013-0540-7 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- UN Statistical Division’s Classifications Newsletter (2011) A new ISCED: reflecting today’s education systems. http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-standard-classification-of-education.aspx#sthash.2ENNBAaR.dpuf. Accessed October 2017