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.
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