To evaluate whether influence from social network members is associated with motivation to change dietary and physical activity behaviors.
Baseline assessment followed by mailing of family health history-based personalized messages (2 weeks) and follow-up assessment (3 months).
Families from an ongoing population-based cohort in Houston, TX.
475 adults from 161 Mexican origin families. Out of 347 households contacted, 162 (47%) participated.
Family health history, social networks, and motivation to change behaviors.
Two-level logistic regression modeling.
Having at least one network member who encourages one to eat more fruits and vegetables (p=.010) and to engage in regular physical activity (p=.046) was associated with motivation to change the relevant behavior. About 40% of the participants did not have encouragers for these behaviors.
Identification of new encouragers within networks and targeting natural encouragers (e.g., children, spouses) may increase the efficacy of interventions to motivate behavioral changes among Mexican origin adults.
social influence; behavioral motivation; family health history; Mexican American; Manuscript format: research; Research purpose: modeling/relationship testing; Study design: quasi-experimental; Outcome measure: cognitive; Setting: family, local community; Health focus: fitness/physical activity, nutrition; Strategy: education; Target population age: adults; Target population circumstances: Mexican American, Houston, TX
Purpose: This study evaluates the role of older family members as providers of social resources within familial network systems affected by an inherited cancer susceptibility syndrome. Design and Methods: Respondents who previously participated in a study that involved genetic counseling and testing for Lynch syndrome and their family network members were invited to participate in a onetime telephone interview about family communication. Results: A total of 206 respondents from 33 families identified 2,051 social relationships (dyads). Nineteen percent of the respondents and 25% of the network members were older (≥60 years). Younger respondents (≤59 years) were more likely to nominate older network members as providers of social resources than younger members: instrumental support (odds ratio [OR] = 1.68), emotional support (OR = 1.71), help in crisis situation (OR = 2.04), and dependability when needed (OR = 2.15). Compared with younger network members, older members were more likely to be listed as encouragers of colon cancer screening by both younger (OR = 3.40) and older respondents (OR = 1.90) independent of whether support exchange occurred in the relationship. Implications: Engaging older network members in health interventions to facilitate screening behaviors and emotional well-being of younger members within families affected by inherited conditions may be beneficial. Findings can be used to empower older individuals about their important social roles in enhancing the well-being of their family members and to inform younger individuals about their older relatives’ resourcefulness to facilitate positive social interactions.
Social relationships; Social support; Cancer screening; Lynch syndrome; Communication
Inadequate knowledge of family health history (FHH) continues to be a major obstacle limiting its usefulness in public health and clinical practice; strategies to facilitate FHH dissemination are needed. Data (N = 1,334) were obtained through waiting-room surveys completed by a diverse sample of patients attending three community health centers. Perceptions about the importance of genetic information (β = 0.13, p < 0.001; β = 0.11, p < 0.001) and higher genetic self-efficacy (β = 0.14, p < 0.001; β = 0.23, p < 0.001) were significantly associated with higher levels of perceived familiarity with and importance of FHH, respectively. Furthermore, beliefs about genetic causation of illnesses (β = 0.12, p < 0.001) and a wider reach of health communication within one’s family (β = 0.15, p < 0.001) were associated with higher levels of perceived familiarity with one’s FHH. Participants in the oldest group (>50 years) reported higher familiarity than those in the youngest (18–25 years). Those with higher familiarity were significantly less likely to answer “don’t know” when reporting diabetes and heart disease diagnoses among immediate (OR = 0.35 and OR = 0.29, respectively) and extended (OR = 0.50 and OR = 0.46, respectively) family members. Having a wider health communication reach within a family may be beneficial in increasing familiarity with FHH; however, the reported levels of communication reach were limited among most participants. Women, older-generation family members, and those who believe in the importance of genetics in health or feel confident about using genetic information may be particularly important as targets of public health interventions to facilitate FHH dissemination within families.
Community-based; Family communication; Genetic self-efficacy; Causal belief; Family health history
Lynch syndrome is the most common inherited form of colorectal cancer. Mutation carriers can reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with colorectal cancer through colonoscopy. Theoretical models suggest that such health related behaviors might also bring psychological benefits. This study assessed whether colonoscopy following mutation detection was associated with levels of depressive symptoms.
Data were obtained from a prospective family cohort study offering genetic services for Lynch syndrome. Participants completed questionnaires prior to the provision of services and 6-months post receipt of mutation results. One hundred thirty four (134) persons were identified to carry a mutation and completed both questionnaires. Main outcome measures were depressive symptoms 6-months post-receipt of test results.
Mutation carriers who did not complete a colonoscopy within the 6 months following receipt of results were 6 times (p<0.01; OR=6.06) more likely to report depressive symptoms at a level of clinical importance compared to those who did undergo colonoscopy.
Facilitating the expeditious use of colonoscopy following mutation detection may benefit newly identified mutation carriers by addressing the objective risks for cancer and moderating underlying emotional distress responses to genetic risk information. Further, depressive symptoms may interfere with behavioral compliance in some patients, suggesting referral to mental health specialists.
Colonoscopy; health behavior; genetic testing; HNPCC / Lynch syndrome
Collecting family health history (FHH) information to share with healthcare providers is an important aspect of health-risk assessment.
To examine associations between the content of FHH-informed risk feedback and willingness to share the information with a healthcare provider.
Data were collected between June 2008 and July 2009 from 475 Mexican origin adults residing in 161 households. Participants completed surveys 3 months after receiving FHH informed risk feedback. Households were randomly assigned to feedback conditions in which household members received one or more of the following: a FHH pedigree; personalized risk assessments; and tailored behavioral recommendations. Logistic regression models were fitted using generalized estimating equations, with exchangeable covariances, to account for the clustering of responses within and the random assignment of feedback condition to household. Analyses were completed in May 2010.
Participants who received personalized risk assessments were more willing to share their feedback with a provider than those who received a pedigree only (OR=2.25, p=0.02). The receipt of tailored behavioral recommendations did not significantly increase willingness to share feedback with a provider (OR=0.79, p=0.48).
The provision of PRAs in FHH assessments appears to motivate participants to consider sharing their FHH with a healthcare provider.
This study evaluates the extent to which psychological adaptation (validated measures of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and test-specific distress) after genetic susceptibility testing is influenced by changes in beliefs about Alzheimer's disease (AD) and sharing of test results with others. Adult children of AD patients (N=269) from a randomized clinical trial involving genetic testing for apolipoprotein E (APOE) provided information before, as well as 6 weeks and 12 months after results disclosure. The levels of adaptation varied highly among participants at 12-month assessment. Participants who learned that they were ɛ4 negative (lower risk) had a reduction in perceived risk and concern about developing AD compared with those who learned that they were ɛ4 positive. Those who received results through an extended educational protocol (three in-person visits) had a larger decline in AD concern than those in a condensed protocol (educational brochure and two in-person visits). Increase in AD concern 6 weeks after disclosure was associated with increase in depression scores (b=0.20, P<0.01) and anxiety levels (b=0.20, P<0.01), and higher distress associated with AD genetic testing (b=0.18, P=0.02) 1 year after testing. Increase in perceived risk (b=0.16, P=0.04) was also associated with higher AD genetic testing distress. Sharing the test results with health professionals and friends (but not family) was associated with decrease in depression (b = −0.11, P = 0.05) and anxiety levels (b=−0.16, P<0.01), respectively after a year. Enhancing discussion with regard to risks and concerns about AD during pretesting counseling and obtaining support through sharing the results after testing may help facilitate test recipients' long-term psychological adaptation.
susceptibility genetic testing; AD; APOE; results disclosure; communication; risk perceptions
Americans of Mexican origin are at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
To evaluate the associations between the presence of social network members who encourage screening and individuals' motivation to undergo three types of health screening: blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose. The distinct roles of encouragers from different generations (older, same, and younger) were evaluated.
Adults of Mexican origin (N = 452) aged 20–75 years from 162 households in Houston, TX were included in this cross-sectional study by completing surveys in 2008 regarding their intentions to screen, health behaviors, illness beliefs, social networks, and family health history in either English or Spanish. Data were analyzed in 2009.
About one third of the participants reported having at least one same-generation network member who encouraged screening; smaller proportions reported having at least one older- (17% to 19%) and one younger-generation (11% to 12%) encourager. The presence of at least one older-generation encourager was associated with higher levels of intention to screen for all three screenings controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and illness beliefs. Having at least one same-generation encourager was associated with higher levels of intention to screen for blood cholesterol.
Social influence may play an important role in motivating individuals to engage in screenings. Network-based intervention involving older individuals to provide encouragement to younger network members should be explored as a means to increase motivation to screen among this population
This study explored the extent to which recipients of genetic susceptibility testing for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) communicated their results to others. It also examined demographic characteristics, along with beliefs about AD, associated with such communication. Participants (N = 271) in a randomized clinical trial involving genetic testing for Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene variants among first-degree relatives of AD patients reported their communication behaviors 6 weeks after the results disclosure. Information on beliefs about AD and genetic testing was collected at baseline. Eighty-two percent of participants receiving APOE genotype information shared their results with someone. Specifically, 64% shared with family members, 51% with spouse or significant others, 35% with friends, and 12% with health care professionals. Greater AD treatment optimism was associated with communicating results to family (OR=1.43), spouse (OR=1.62), friends (OR =1.81), and health care professionals (OR=2.20). Lower perceived risk (OR=0.98) and higher perceived importance of genetics in the development of AD (OR=1.93) were associated with results communication in general. Lower perceived drawbacks of AD genetic testing was associated with results communication to friends (OR=0.65). Beliefs about AD risks and causes, genetic testing, and development of treatments may partly determine the interpersonal communication patterns of genetic susceptibility test results.
Susceptibility genetic testing; Alzheimer’s disease; APOE communication; disclosure
This study evaluates the extent to which psychological adaptation (validated measures of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and test-specific distress) after genetic susceptibility testing is influenced by changes in beliefs about Alzheimer's disease (AD) and sharing of test results with others. Adult children of AD patients (N=269) from a randomized clinical trial involving genetic testing for apolipoprotein E (APOE) provided information before, as well as 6 weeks and 12 months after results disclosure. The levels of adaptation varied highly among participants at 12-month assessment. Participants who learned that they were ε4 negative (lower risk) had a reduction in perceived risk and concern about developing AD compared with those who learned that they were ε4 positive. Those who received results through an extended educational protocol (three in-person visits) had a larger decline in AD concern than those in a condensed protocol (educational brochure and two in-person visits). Increase in AD concern 6 weeks after disclosure was associated with increase in depression scores (b=0.20, P<0.01) and anxiety levels (b=0.20, P<0.01), and higher distress associated with AD genetic testing (b=0.18, P=0.02) 1 year after testing. Increase in perceived risk (b=0.16, P=0.04) was also associated with higher AD genetic testing distress. Sharing the test results with health professionals and friends (but not family) was associated with decrease in depression (b= −0.11, P=0.05) and anxiety levels (b= −0.16, P<0.01), respectively after a year. Enhancing discussion with regard to risks and concerns about AD during pretesting counseling and obtaining support through sharing the results after testing may help facilitate test recipients' long-term psychological adaptation.
susceptibility genetic testing; AD; APOE; results disclosure; communication; risk perceptions
Purpose: This study evaluates the changes in social networks of older and younger breast cancer patients over a 6-month period following their first diagnosis and how such modifications are associated with changes in the patients’ mood state. Design and Methods: Newly diagnosed breast cancer patients were interviewed shortly after their diagnosis and again 6 months later. Female support network members enumerated by patients were interviewed once within 3 months of the patients’ initial interview. Results: Findings based on information for 149 network members of 26 patients indicate that members in older (≥51 years) patients’ networks were less likely to be dropped at follow-up (odds ratio [OR] = 0.21, p = .04) compared with those in younger patients’ networks. Network members who provided more support were less likely to be dropped by younger patients (OR = 0.42, p < .01). Decrease in network size was associated with decrease in mood disturbances among younger patients (Profile of Mood State–Bipolar: β = 0. 35, p ≤ .01). Implications: Reducing the number of network members after cancer diagnosis may not necessarily lead to psychological distress, providing support for self-regulation of social network resources among cancer patients. Older patients’ network members were more embedded in patients’ networks, making it more stable over time. Identifying important network members (e.g., frequent support providers for younger patients and family members for older patients) and facilitating positive social interactions between these network members and patients may be beneficial.
Social relationships; Social support; Cancer survivor; Social selectivity; Psychological adaptation
The associations between characteristics of family relationships and family trends in cancer worry and the psychological adjustment of recipients of genetic testing for cancer susceptibility were investigated.
Data provided by 178 individuals from 24 families with Lynch syndrome who participated in a cohort study investigating psychological and behavioral outcomes of genetic testing were used. Responses from multiple family members were aggregated to construct family trends representing norms and departure from norms in cancer worry.
Lower perceived family cohesion at baseline and decrease in this variable at 6-months after receipt of test results were associated with higher depression scores at 12-months. More variability in cancer worry among family members at baseline was also associated with higher depression scores at 12-months. Increase in family conflict was associated with decrease in depression scores among individuals from families with higher levels of cancer worry on average and less variability among the members.
Family relationships and family trends in levels of cancer worry may play important roles in the psychological adjustment of genetic test recipients. The findings highlight the complexity of familial environment surrounding individuals that undergo genetic testing and suggest the benefits of considering these factors when providing genetic services.
cancer worry; CES-D; family relationships; genetic testing; Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer; Lynch syndrome; social environment