Predictions of the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are heightened in disadvantaged rural populations, yet studies investigating AD in this population are limited. Other researchers have shown that when rural Appalachian people are aware of their risk for a chronic illness, they are more willing to adopt healthy behaviors (Della, 2011; Schoenberg et al. 2011), suggesting that educational programs to increase knowledge and perception of risk are needed. The purpose of this article is to report findings from exploring knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease in a southern rural West Virginia community of residents (N = 193) and a sample of caregivers (n = 20) using cognitive interview techniques of “Think-aloud” and “Laddering”. The cultural fit and relevance of the “Knowledge of Alzheimer’s Disease scale or KAD (Jang, Kim, Hansen, & Chiriboga, 2010) was also examined. Findings from the KAD included that an updated AD measure appropriate for use in rural settings is needed. Findings from the cognitive interview included that instead of fatalistic attitudes toward Alzheimer’s disease, residents often viewed AD as something potentially preventable through healthier living, use of herbs as children, and eventual discovery of more effective treatment regimens. The themes that emerged were “preventing AD” and “personal knowing of AD”. Considering cultural perceptions and determining knowledge gaps in the communities by rural providers is an important component of changing stigma regarding routine cognitive screening for rural older adults at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share (for non-commerical purposes) the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).