176444 Impact of family history and behavioral risk on beliefs about disease causation

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 8:42 AM

Suzanne C. O'Neill, PhD , Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Colleen M. McBride, PhD , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD, Afghanistan
Sharon Hensley Alford, MPH , Josephine Ford Cancer Center, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI
Kimberly Kaphingst, ScD , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD
Providing genetic risk feedback to individuals may motivate behavior change, but this likely depends on their pre-existing disease attributions. We are examining the degree to which individuals' beliefs about disease causation incorporate genetic and behavioral factors, based on the Common Sense Model. We hypothesize that the relative weight given to these factors will reflect self-serving biases. For example, those with fewer behavioral risk factors and a family history will weight health behavior as more important, while those with a greater number of behavioral risk factors but no family history will weight genetic makeup as more important. We are also investigating how gender, education, health literacy, and socioeconomic status affect this balance.

This analysis is based on data from 1630 individuals who completed the telephone baseline assessment of the Multiplex Initiative, a study being conducted with Henry Ford Health System patients to examine uptake and reactions to genetic testing for 8 common health conditions. Among participants, 54% are female, 57% African American, and 21% have no more than a high school education.

We will present outcome data computed for each health condition to reflect the relative weight attributed to genetic versus behavioral causes. Possible outcome values range from 0 (attributes disease to behavior alone) to 1 (attributes disease to genetics alone). Multivariate regression models will be used to examine the associations between the outcome and family history and behavioral risk. These findings will expand our understanding of disease attributions for common health conditions, and aid the development of future communication efforts.

Learning Objectives:
(1)Describe relative weight given to genetic versus behavioral factors for causation of eight common health conditions. (2)Discuss relationship between disease attributions and family history and behavioral risk.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an extensive background in research on genetics and health behavior.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.