240722 Familiarity with family health history information: Associations with age, individual perceptions, and family communication

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:50 AM

Sato Ashida, PhD , Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Melody S. Goodman, PhD , Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Jewel Stafford , Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Christina Lachance, MPH , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD
Kimberly Kaphingst, ScD , Department of Surgery, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Recognizing the importance of family health history (FHH) information in disease prevention, CDC and NIH have launched major initiatives to facilitate assessment of FHH among the general public. However, inadequate knowledge of FHH continues to be a major obstacle limiting its usefulness. This study explores factors associated with degree of familiarity with one's FHH, with the goal of identifying individuals who could be targeted for interventions as FHH disseminators within families. Data (N = 1,334) were obtained through waiting room surveys completed by a diverse sample of patients attending 3 community health centers. In a multivariable model, controlling for sociodemographic factors, greater familiarity with FHH was associated with: being 50 years of age or older compared to ages 18-25 (p=.001), 26-35 (p=.008), and 36-49 (p=.015); higher perceived importance of genes in contributing to FHH (p<.001) and of knowing FHH for one's own health (p<.001); talking to parent(s) about general health (p=.001); and talking to aunts/uncles among those ages 36-49 (p=.013: interaction between age and communication). Those with higher familiarity were significantly less likely to answer “don't know” when reporting diabetes and heart disease diagnoses among immediate (OR=.410 & OR=.472, respectively) and extended (OR=.301 & OR=.492, respectively) family members.

Self-reported familiarity may be a good indicator of FHH knowledge. These findings suggest that efforts to promote dissemination of FHH information within families should target on older individuals who have more knowledge. Younger individuals could be motivated to discuss health with older members, including extended family.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the characteristics of key individuals who report higher levels of familiarity with their own family health history. 2. Explain the association between perceived familiarity with own family health history and ability to provide family history information for diabetes and heart disease. 3. Discuss potential strategies to facilitate dissemination of family health history within families.

Keywords: Community, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the research question, conducted data analyses, and interpreted the results.
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.