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Health Educ Behav. 2003 Feb;30(1):10-28.

Intergenerational transmission of health: the role of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and communicative factors.

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  • 1Department of Communication Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 78712, USA.


A model of household dietary behaviors based on adults' and children's intrapersonal, interpersonal, and communicative factors is introduced and tested. To the extent that children's health behaviors are influenced by adults' health behaviors, it is hypothesized that children's behavioral determinants, including self-efficacy, knowledge, and use of health information, will be affected by household adults' behavioral determinants. Household communication is expected to affect the behaviors and the behavioral determinants of adults and children. Data come from the Stanford Five-City Project. Structural equation models revealed that adults' dietary behavior was influenced by their self-efficacy, knowledge, and discussion between adults and children. Children's dietary behavior was influenced by their self-efficacy, knowledge, and use of health information. Adults' intrapersonal determinants of dietary behavior predicted corresponding children's measures. Implications for health education efforts directed at children include encouraging household discussion about health and focusing on adults as agents of change as an integral campaign strategy.

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