Gendered perceptions of osteoporosis: implications for youth prevention programs Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The presentation of osteoporosis as a woman’s disease in prevention information influences how osteoporosis is perceived and how prevention information is internalized and applied. Using the Health Belief Model as a framework, gendered perceptions of osteoporosis were investigated in Canadian young adults to inform the design of prevention programs. A combination of the Osteoporosis Health Belief Scale (OHBS) and semi-structured interviews were used to explore participants’ perceptions of osteoporosis severity, susceptibility, and motivation to engage in prevention activities. Sixty multiethnic men and women aged 17–30 years living in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada participated in the study. While the findings from the OHBS indicated that both genders scored high for self-efficacy, the results from the qualitative interviews showed ambivalent attitudes toward prevention behaviors, indicating a disconnect between quantitative and qualitative findings. Perceptions related to severity and susceptibility revealed that while osteoporosis was generally viewed as a woman’s disease, perceived individual risk of disease was a negotiation between larger gender constructs of osteoporosis and a variety of risk factors. This study indicates that osteoporosis prevention programs should consider actively acknowledging gendered and youth-based conceptions of osteoporosis in order to increase prevention behaviors in the whole population to reduce future disease.

publication date

  • June 2020

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