Online Program

Are Young Adults Talking about Their Family Health History? - A Qualitative Pilot Study

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lei Xu, Ph.D., Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Alice Richman, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, College of Health and Human Performance, Greenville, NC
Wura Jacobs, Ph.D., Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, NC
Lindsey T Holland, B.S., Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Kelly A Johnson, B.S., Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Family Health History (FHH), an inexpensive and efficient tool, plays an essential role in risk assessment for a variety of hereditary conditions.  However, much of the literature on FHH communication focuses on older adults providing information about genetic testing or risk for conditions to younger generations. Little is known about how young adults are communicating with their family members about FHH and their use of the web-based FHH tool, initiated by the U.S. Surgeon General. We conducted face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with 30 college students attending a large university in the south to gather information about FHH communications with their family members. Snowball sampling was employed between December 2014 and February 2015 and recruitment ceased when data achieved saturation. On average, participants were 24.5 years old (range: 19-33). Our sample was diverse in that half of participants were international young adults (Asian n=9; Latin Americans n=5; and African n=1). Our findings indicated that none of the interviewees had initiated conversations about their FHH with their family. The majority of students (90%) indicated favorable attitudes towards the online FHH tool by the U.S. Surgeon General, however, no participants were aware of this source prior to the study. The majority (93%) did not understand the importance of collecting their FHH.  Compared to their American counterparts, international students highlighted barriers to FHH collecting including family/cultural taboo and the long distance from their families. Our findings emphasize the need to provide educational programs for young adults on the importance of collecting FHH for proactive care.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the college students’ attitudes and intention regarding collecting their family health history (FHH). Learn about some of the psychological factors (i.e., emotional factors, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers) that might affect college students’ intention to collect FHH.

Keyword(s): Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principle investigator for this research project. I have synthesized the research idea, conducted cognitive interviews, analyzed data and wrote manuscripts from this research project.
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.