216159 Family health risk message and social influence within families of Mexican origin: Motivations to change health behaviors

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Sato Ashida, PhD , Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Anna V. Wilkinson, PhD , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX
Laura M. Koehly, PhD , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH, Bethesda, MD
Increasing efforts are being made to use family history-based risk assessments to motivate health behavior changes. Previous studies focused on cancer screenings, and limited knowledge exists regarding potential impacts of such assessments on other lifestyle behaviors. Family health risk when assessed within the familial social context often leads to increased communication among members; social interactions within families have been shown to impact members' health behaviors. This study examines whether motivations to change lifestyle behaviors are associated with the provision of family history-based risk assessments and the presence of social influence within families. Participants, 475 individuals from 161 multi-generational Mexican American families, provided family health information and received personalized feedback that included one or more of the following: family pedigree depicting health history, tailored health risk information, and personalized behavioral recommendations. Approximately 3 months later, participants reported on their motivations to change behaviors and their social network systems. Participants who received a family history-based health risk message indicating their increased risk for heart disease and/or diabetes were more likely to be motivated to eat more fruits and vegetables (p=.02). Having at least one network member who encourages participants to eat more fruits and vegetables (p=.01) and to engage in regular physical activity (p=.05) were significantly associated with motivation to change the relevant behavior. Provision of behavioral recommendations was not associated with motivations. Efforts to motivate behavioral change that utilize family units and health risk assessments based on family history may be efficacious. Implications for future research and practice will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss potential importance of providing family history-based health risk assessments in behavioral interventions. 2. Describe how social influence within family systems may impact individuals’ health-related cognitions and potentially their behaviors. 3. Identify additional questions to be explored in future research to increase our understanding about the use of family-history information in public health efforts.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I participated in the implementation of the study, management of the collected data, development of the research question, and the conduction of the analyses that will be presented.
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.