Fracture risk perception study: Patient self-perceptions of bone health often disagree with calculated fracture risk

Michael L. Grover, Frederick D. Edwards, Yu Hui H. Chang, Curtiss B. Cook, Margaret C. Behrens, Amylou C. Dueck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: We sought to evaluate the concordance between self-assessed perceptions of fracture risk and actual risk calculated by World Health Organization's 10-year Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX). Methods: We collected demographic data, lifestyle information, osteoporosis knowledge, bone density test results, and treatment history from patients aged 50 to 75years. Subjects rated their perceptions of 10-year risk of sustaining fracture as low (0%-9%), intermediate (10%-19%), or high (≥20%). This rating was compared with risk calculated by FRAX. Findings: Among 426 patients, the greatest agreement regarding fracture risk was noted for those in the low-risk FRAX group: 81% perceived themselves as having low risk. The most risk disagreement was in the high-risk FRAX group: Only 18% perceived their risk as high. Perceived risk was intermediate for 59% and low for 24%. Of patients at intermediate calculated risk by FRAX, 48% agreed with this with self-perceived risk. Overall, risk agreement was associated with bone density results, with higher T scores predictive of agreement. Underestimation was associated with being female and older. Patients with prescription treatment exposure frequently had risk disagreement and perceived their risk as lower than their calculated FRAX scores might indicate. Patients taking calcium and vitamin D similarly perceived lower risk than calculated by FRAX. Conclusions: Patients at intermediate and high calculated fracture risk frequently had self-perceptions of lower risk. Patients taking prescription osteoporosis medication and calcium and vitamin D treatment perceived less risk than calculated. Whether correcting misperceptions about personal susceptibility to fracture might result in behavioral changes will be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e69-e75
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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