240068 Family health history communication in Chinese American families

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:10 AM

Lei Xu, MA , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Lei-Shih Chen, PhD, PT, CHES , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Mei Zhao, PhD , Department of Public Health, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Family health history (FHH), representing the genes passed down through generations within a family unit, is a significant risk factor related to developing various diseases. Major national initiatives have been launched to promote FHH discussion among family members and to address the value of FHH. Yet, it is unknown how FHH information has been shared among Chinese Americans—the largest Asian subgroup in the United States. The aim of this community-based research was to examine FHH communication in Chinese American families. We conducted in-depth interviews with forty-nine Chinese Americans in a southeastern metropolitan city. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via thematic analysis with the assistance of QSR NViVo8. Preliminary findings show that only approximately 40% of participants had frequently discussed FHH with their family members. Participants' perceived barriers affecting their FHH discussion were: 1) self-defined “healthy family” with no FHH concerns, 2) physical separation with their family members, 3) Chinese cultural taboo and stigma of sharing FHH information with family members, and 4) lack of FHH collection. This study indicates that less than half of our Chinese American participants had discussed FHH with their family members. Their perceived barriers were related to their unique culture beliefs, inadequate knowledge, and unawareness of FHH importance. Health education efforts addressing Chinese Americans' perceived barriers in FHH discussion are urgently needed in the near future.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health biology
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how Chinese Americans communicate FHH with their family members. 2. Identify the existing barriers that prevent Chinese Americans from discussing family history with their family members.

Keywords: Genetics, Asian Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in Health Education and my research area is genomics and health disparities. I have made contributions and worked consistently in this project for more than two years.
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.