Dawn M. Aycock, PhD

Advisor, Anne Alexandrov, PhD, RN, FAAN

Risk factors for stroke in rural African Americans and factors that influence exercise behaviors to reduce stroke risk

Stroke has increased among young adults, which is concerning for African Americans (AA) who tend to have stroke at an earlier age and an increased risk for mortality and severe disability. Rural dwellers lack resources which may increase their susceptibility to stroke. Regular exercise can reduce stroke; however, physical activity among AA is low. The purpose of this research was to use an Expanded Health Belief Model to examine perceived and actual stroke risk among rural AA 19 to 54 years of age and factors that influence exercise behaviors to reduce stroke risk.

This study found a high burden of stroke risk, underestimation of stroke risk, and insufficient exercise among rural, young to middle-aged AA. Programs aimed at reducing stroke should focus on improving their understanding of stroke related to their personal risk factors. Specific groups to target are those with obesity, uncontrolled hypertension, FHS and cigarette smokers. Interventions aimed at increasing exercise levels should incorporate strategies that promote benefits and reduce barriers to exercise.

Recent Publications

Aycock, D. M., & Currie, E. R. (2013). Minimizing risk for nursing students recruited for health and educational research. Nurse Educator, 38(2), 56-60.

Aycock, D. M., Kirkendoll, K. D., & Gordon, P. M. (2013). Hypertension education and screening in African American churches. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 30(1), 16-27.