Author(s): Hastrup JL, Hotchkiss AP, Johnson CA
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Abstract There has been increased interest in the use of familial trends in physical and psychological disorders for identifying individuals at risk; research on individuals who have relatives with certain health problems may contribute to knowledge of etiology. In addition, accurate family health information may allow targeting of prevention and early detection programs to minimize cost and maximize utility. This study compared 292 undergraduates' reports of their parents' and grandparents' histories of six medical disorders with the parents' reports. Results showed moderate agreement concerning the parents' health, but substantial disagreement concerning the grandparents' health. Demographic and personality variables did not predict accuracy of students' reports of parental hypertension. Among the disorders, differences in agreement of reporting arose; the most salient condition, heart attack, had the highest agreement for both parents and grandparents. These results suggested that caution is necessary in evaluating family health information from subjects in research and from target individuals in prevention programs. This problem is especially serious for disorders such as hypertension, which is less salient and which also shows age-related penetrance, with the disorder often not evident until the 5th or 6th decade of life.
This article was published in Health Psychol
and referenced in Primary Healthcare: Open Access