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Health Educ Behav. 2013 Oct;40(5):571-80. doi: 10.1177/1090198112464495. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

Talking (or not) about family health history in families of Latino young adults.

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1Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.


Although individuals recognize the importance of knowing their family's health history for their own health, relatively few people (e.g., less than a third in one national survey) collect this type of information. This study examines the rates of family communication about family health history of cancer, and predictors of communication in a sample of English-speaking Latino young adults. A total of 224 Latino young adults completed a survey that included measures on family communication, cultural factors, religious commitment, and cancer worry. We found that few Latino young adults reported collecting information from their families for the purposes of creating a family health history (18%) or sharing information about hereditary cancer risk with family members (16%). In contrast, slightly more than half of the participants reported generally "talking with their mothers about their family's health history of cancer." Logistic regression results indicated that cancer worry (odds ratio [OR] = 2.31; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.08-4.93), being female (OR = 3.12; 95% CI = 1.02-8.08), and being older (OR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.01-1.76) were associated with increased rates of collecting information from family members. In contrast, orientation to the Latino culture (OR = 2.81; 95% CI = 1.33-5.94) and religious commitment (OR = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.02-2.32) were associated with increased rates of giving cancer information. Results highlight the need for prevention programs to help further general discussions about a family's history of cancer to more specific information related to family health history.


Latino adults; cancer; communication; family health history

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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