The main goal of the Boston University's TIPS II project is to examine differences in Alzheimer's disease (AD) illness perceptions between African Americans and Whites in order to better understand attitudes and beliefs and to develop more culturally sensitive health services for AD. This 30-minute telephone survey will include a total of 140 first-degree relatives and caregivers of people with AD, as well as a comparison group of 70 adults without family history. The researchers will assess 1) beliefs about AD; 2) the perceived threat it poses; 3) sources of information about AD; 4) knowledge of basic facts about AD; 5) appraisal of AD treatments; and 6) intentions regarding current and emerging care options. Based on preliminary data, this study hypothesize that, as compared to Whites, African Americans will report lower levels of perceived threat, fewer sources of information, less awareness of facts, and less interest in care options. Focus group interviews with African American participants will help interpret study findings and inform recommendations for health education interventions.
Findings will inform the development of a set of recommendations for AD health educators that will help them tailor their interventions to African Americans. Such educational programs promote increased use of assessment, treatment, and caregiver assistance services. Results will also be used as pilot data in a proposal for a national survey of caregivers and relatives. This program of research will address a growing need for increased understanding of beliefs, knowledge, and intentions regarding AD. A total of 210 participants are being sought (105 African Americans, and 105 Whites). Participants who complete the survey will be given a $10.00 check, plus informational brochures on AD and the latest newsletter from the Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center.