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Assessing Behavioral Change in Response to Family Health Histories

Dudley, Ruth Elizabeth (2006) Assessing Behavioral Change in Response to Family Health Histories. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Center for Minority Health (CMH), located in the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, was established to promote health and prevent disease. Its mission is to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Pittsburgh by the year 2010. The Healthy Black Family Project (HBFP) was one project designed to meet this goal by reducing the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in Pittsburgh. The Family Health History Initiative is one part of HBFP; its purpose is to educate participants about the importance of family health history as a risk factor for disease. By providing personalized risk assessments based on family history, genetic counseling students at the University of Pittsburgh hope to encourage individuals to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors in an effort to reduce their risk for multifactorial conditions like cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. This project was designed to assess the ability of a family health history session to encourage participants to increase their physical activity. Using the transtheoretical model, information about the physical activity habits of participants before and after a family health history session was collected. This data was analyzed to determine whether or not individuals increased their physical activity after a family health history session; data collected from individuals who had completed a Health Risk Assessment but not a family health history session was compared. The data show that individuals who complete a family health history session are more likely to increase their physical activity than individuals who complete a Health Risk Assessment. Most individuals who completed a family health history session, however, did not progress along the stages of change, defined as precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Individuals who earned less than $20,000 a year, who perceived themselves to be obese, who intended to increase their physical activity, who had a moderate risk for any disease, and who perceived themselves to be at high risk or reported already having a disease were more likely to improve along the stages of change than other individuals. This study provides public health significance by defining the effectiveness of a family health history as an intervention.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dudley, Ruth
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairThomas, Stephen
Committee CoChairFord,
Committee MemberKammerer, Candaceckammerer@hgen.pitt.eduCMK3
Committee MemberGettig, Elizabethbgettig@hgen.pitt.eduBGETTIG
Date: 6 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 April 2006
Approval Date: 6 June 2006
Submission Date: 11 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Genetic Counseling
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: African American; behavior change; family health history; minority population; transtheoretical model
Other ID:, etd-04112006-122046
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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