Factors affecting frequency of communication about family health history with family members and doctors in a medically underserved population

Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Aug;88(2):291-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.11.013. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Abstract

Objective: Family history contributes to risk for many common chronic diseases. Little research has investigated patient factors affecting communication of this information.

Methods: 1061 adult community health center patients were surveyed. We examined factors related to frequency of discussions about family health history (FHH) with family members and doctors.

Results: Patients who talked frequently with family members about FHH were more likely to report a family history of cancer (p =.012) and heart disease (p < .001), seek health information frequently in newspapers (p < .001) and in general (p < .001), and be female (p < .001). Patients who talked frequently with doctors about FHH were more likely to report a family history of heart disease (p = .011), meet physical activity recommendations (p = .022), seek health information frequently in newspapers (p < .001) and in general (p < .001), be female (p < .001), and not have experienced racial discrimination in healthcare (p < .001).

Conclusion: Patients with a family history of some diseases, those not meeting physical activity recommendations, and those who do not frequently seek health information may not have ongoing FHH discussions.

Practice implications: Interventions are needed to encourage providers to update patients' family histories systematically and assist patients in initiating FHH conversations in order to use this information for disease prevention and control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication*
  • Community Health Services
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States