BACKGROUND: Stroke symptoms are common among people without a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack; however, it is unknown if particular attention should be focused on specific symptoms for subgroups of patients. METHODS: Using baseline data from 26,792 REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) participants without a history of transient ischemic attack or stroke, we assessed the association between age, sex, race, current smoking, hypertension, and diabetes and the 6 stroke symptoms in the Questionnaire for Verifying Stroke-Free Status. RESULTS: The mean age of participants was 64.4 ± 9.4 years, 40.7% were black, and 55.2% were women. After multivariable adjustment, older persons more often reported an inability to understand (odds ratio [OR] 1.16 per 10 years older age; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07-1.25) and unilateral vision loss (OR 1.09; 95% CI 1.01-1.18) and less often reported numbness (OR 0.83; 95% CI 0.79-0.87) and weakness (OR 0.85; 95% CI 0.80-0.90). Women reported difficulty communicating more often than men (OR 1.36; 95% CI 1.19-1.56). The OR for blacks compared to whites for each of the 6 stroke symptoms was increased, markedly so for unilateral numbness (OR 1.97; 95% CI 1.81-2.16), unilateral weakness (OR 1.96; 95% CI 1.76-2.18), and inability to understand (OR 1.87; 95% CI 1.61-2.18). Current smoking, hypertension, and diabetes were associated with higher ORs for each stroke symptom. CONCLUSIONS: The association of risk factors with 6 individual stroke symptoms studied was not uniform, suggesting the need to emphasize individual stroke symptoms in stroke awareness campaigns when targeting populations defined by risk.