Genet Med. 2014 May 15. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.49. [Epub ahead of print]
Multifactorial beliefs about the role of genetics and behavior in common health conditions: prevalence and associations with participant characteristics and engagement in health behaviors.
Purpose:Many common health conditions arise due to a combination of genetic factors and lifestyle-related behaviors. People's understanding of the multifactorial nature of health conditions has implications for their receptivity to health messages regarding genomics and medicine, and may be related to their adoption of protective health behaviors. Although past work has investigated aspects of either genetic or behavioral causal beliefs, multifactorial beliefs have not been evaluated systematically.Methods:Utilizing nationally representative cross-sectional data from the Health Information National Trends Survey, we examined the prevalence of multifactorial beliefs regarding the etiology of cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, as well as associations between such beliefs and demographic, health history, and health behavior variables in the US population.Results:Among 3,630 participants, the vast majority (64.2-78.6%) endorsed multifactorial beliefs. The number of statistically significant associations was limited. Trends suggest that endorsement of multifactorial beliefs may differ by demographic and health history characteristics. Beliefs about the multifactorial etiology of cancer were associated with cancer screening behaviors. Multifactorial beliefs about other common health conditions were associated with few health promotion behaviors.Conclusion:These findings and recommendations for future research provide preliminary guidance for developing and targeting genomics-related health messages and communications.Genet Med advance online publication 15 May 2014Genetics in Medicine (2014); doi:10.1038/gim.2014.49.
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