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The Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a severe illness with a 40% mortality rate. Improvements in care have reduced deaths but led to an increasing number of survivors who experience chronic adverse effects. However, there are no published studies that have evaluated changes in health perceptions and behavior in ARDS survivors. We sought to determine changes in health-related perceptions and behaviors in ARDS survivors. A sequential mixed methods study was conducted to examine changes in health perceptions and behaviors in ARDS survivors. Respondents were registrants at the ARDS Foundation, a non-profit patient support and education organization. Findings from interviews conducted with ARDS survivors during the initial qualitative phase were used to construct a quantitative survey instrument, which was completed by 229/513 (45%) registrants. Changes were reported in the following behaviors before and after ARDS: diet (34% and 31% consumed more fruits and vegetables, respectively, now than before ARDS, while 4% and 6%, respectively, said they consume less), physical activity (64% exercise now vs. 50% before, p<0.01), alcohol use (2.3+7.6 drinks/week now vs.4.2+10.6 before, p<0.001), and medical care needs (10.6+15.5 doctor visits now vs. 3.7+6.8 before, p<0.001). ARDS survivors reported mostly positive health perception and behavior changes after their illness.