Family Health History and Health Behaviors Among Students at a Hispanic-serving Institution




Perez, Casey

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Background: Despite the importance of discussing Family Health History (FHH), many minorities and young adults do not engage in these discussions. Objectives: This study aimed to (1) examine the rate of FHH discussions among a primarily young, Latino sample; (2) identify factors associated with FHH discussions; and (3) assess cancer preventive behaviors among participants with a FHH of cancer. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey of 197 undergraduate students at a large, Hispanic-serving institution was conducted. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate the relationship between FHH discussions, preventive behaviors and personal factors. Independent samples t-test was used to identify associations between age and FHH discussions. Results: Overall, 94% of participants reported engaging in FHH discussion with their parents and of these, 67% also reported discussing FHH with their physician. More participants with a regular physician (81.1%) reported discussing FHH with their physician than participants without a regular physician (56.7%; χ2=13.247, p<.01). Only 23.6% of all males and 32.6% of all females reported performing self-exams monthly. About 42.8% of all participants reported using sunscreen regularly. Among participants with moderate to strong familial risk of cancer, 63.6% of males reported not performing testicular self-exams and 50% of females reported not performing breast self-exams in the past month. Discussion: Despite the majority of young adults discussing FHH with their parents, few reported discussing FHH with their physicians and few engaged in cancer preventive behaviors. Future research should investigate factors influencing FHH discussions and cancer preventive behaviors among young Latino adults.


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Cancer prevention, Family health history, Health communication, Hispanic adults, Physician interaction, Young adult health



Health and Kinesiology