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The Role of Family History and Culture in Communal Coping Within Mexican-American Families

18 Years
70 Years
Not Enrolling
Diabetes, Colon Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease

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Trial Information

The Role of Family History and Culture in Communal Coping Within Mexican-American Families

The current project aims to understand the mechanisms underlying communications about
familial risk for common, complex diseases and the development of strategies by Mexican
American families to address this risk. For the Mexican American community, the family
culture provides an important setting within which individuals will interpret their health
information, share health information, and formulate strategies to engage in health
promoting behaviors. This family culture can be defined by the family social structure, the
degree of acculturation represented by household members, as well as socio-economic factors.
Participants for the current project will be recruited from an ongoing population-based
cohort of Mexican American households initiated by the Department of Epidemiology at the
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (UTMDACC). At least three adults, two of
which are biological relatives, living within the same residence from 160 multigenerational
Mexican American households will participate in this study. Medical risk information
(feedback) will be provided to participants based upon family history information that they
provide about four complex diseases: diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and colon
cancer. The feedback will be randomized in two ways varying who within the family is
provided the feedback (Receiver of the Feedback) and what information is provided (Content
of Feedback). The data will allow us to examine whether the family-centered feedback
approach (where all participating family members receive feedback), rather than the
individual-focused feedback approach (where only one participating family member receives
feedback), encourages communications regarding disease risk among family members. The
medical risk feedback will also be randomized as to whether they receive disease risk
information only (predisposing risk feedback) or disease risk information coupled with
personalized recommendations for behavior change to reduce risks (predisposing plus enabling
feedback). These data will allow us to examine the impact of the content of risk feedback
based on the CDC's family health history tool Family Healthware(Trademark) on beliefs
concerning the underlying causes and controllability of common diseases. Cross comparisons
between the data obtained from who receives the medical risk information and the content of
that information will help in understanding the role of beliefs about disease and
communication about family risk for disease in the development of shared perceptions of risk
and strategies to adopt health promoting behaviors within the family. The role of the
familial and cultural context in the communication and strategy development process will
also be investigated.

Inclusion Criteria


- Member household of existing population-based cohort of Mexican-American households
recruited by the Department of Epidemiology at UTMDACC. The existing population
based cohort consists of self-identified Mexican-Americans living in predominantly
Mexican-American neighborhoods in the Houston area. All individuals in the cohort
are 18 years of age or older and had to be able to complete a personal interview.

- Household includes at least three adults (18 to 70 years of age) who are willing to
participate in the study, where at least two of the household participants are
related biologically and represent differing generations, and additionally in which
one household participant is a spouse or partner of another household participant.

- Ability for each participating household member to complete one in-home survey
instrument via computerized assessment tool or personal interview and to complete two
telephone interviews.

- Ability of all household participants to speak either English or Spanish.


More than two household members are unable to complete the baseline questionnaire using a
computerized assessment tool.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Prevention

Outcome Measure:

Family Communication about Risk

Principal Investigator

Laura M. Koehly, Ph.D.

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

April 2007

Completion Date:

December 2010

Related Keywords:

  • Diabetes
  • Colon Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Colon Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Diabetes Mellitus



National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Maryland  20892