Awareness of the Red Dress Symbol and Heart Disease among College Women

  • Sandra L. Anderson California State University, Chico
  • Kathryn Silliman California State University, Chico
  • Julie M. Schneider California State University, Chico


The purpose of this study was to determine the level of concern and knowledge about heart disease among college women and to explore the relationship between awareness of the Red Dress symbol and knowledge of risk factors for heart disease. Female college students (n = 475) completed a survey. While 63% believed they are informed about heart disease, only 43% identified heart disease as the leading cause of death in women. Breast cancer (36%) was listed as the one greatest health concern facing women, followed by heart disease (29%). Chi-square analysis revealed that a significantly greater proportion of participants familiar with the Red Dress symbol (n = 157) identified heart disease as the greatest health problem facing women and the leading cause of death of women than participants unfamiliar with the symbol (n = 318). Participants familiar with the symbol identified 0.4-0.5 more correct choices on two questions related to causes of and activities to prevent heart disease than women unfamiliar with the symbol. College women are a prime target for a Red Dress campaign due to their low level of awareness. Young women can reduce their risk of developing heart disease through prevention.

How to Cite
Anderson, S. L., Silliman, K., & Schneider, J. M. (2013). Awareness of the Red Dress Symbol and Heart Disease among College Women. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 11(1), 36-44.