Aims and objectives: To examine gender differences in knowledge and feelings about stroke among ≥40 years old population. Background: Knowledge of stroke is consistently found to be poor among both genders in general populations, however, it has been reported to be better among women than men. Gender differences in feelings about stroke in the general population have not been examined. Design and methods: Data were collected from a convenience sample using semi-structured personal interviews. Participants were representative of Israeli sub-populations aged ≥40 with no history of stroke. Knowledge of stroke was studied with quantitative methods while constant comparative analysis was used for the qualitative data analysis of feelings evoked by stroke. Results: One hundred and seventy-seven participants were interviewed, 79/177 (44·6%) men and 98/177 (55·4%) women. Rates of self-reported hypertension [33/79 (41·8%) men, 25/98 (25·5%) women] and current smoking [29/79 (36·7%) men, 18/98 (18·4%) women] were significantly higher in men than women. Over 50% men and women mentioned one-side sudden weakness or paralysis as a stroke symptom, however, other stroke symptoms were not recognised by most participants. Education was associated with the number of identified stroke signs. Knowledge of stroke-warning signs was better in women. The main feelings expressed by both genders were fear of dying and disability, self-concern about survival, blaming fate and self-accusation. Conclusion: Stroke knowledge is poor among men and women. Higher level of education is a predictor of stroke knowledge among both genders. Gender-specific differences in stroke risk factors and feelings about stroke in different sub-populations should be taken into account to improve prevention of stroke through education programmes. Relevance to clinical practice: Health education on stroke prevention should be tailored to population groups differing in level of education. Health promotion recommendations should be provided by nurses with regard to beliefs of both men and women regarding prevention of stroke.
- mixed method
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