Term of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health in Community Health Behavior and Education (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Joanne Chopak-Foss

Committee Member 1

Stacy Smallwood

Committee Member 2

Haresh Rochani


Communication about family health history related to chronic disease are important to health promotion and prevention and associated with better health outcomes, yet for African Americans, they do not happen until after a family member has been diagnosed with a specific disease or condition (Hovick, 2016; Rodriguez, 2016). The purpose of the study was to examine the occurrence of family communication surrounding chronic disease in a sample of African American women in the rural Southeastern United States. Secondly, the study sought to examine whether frequency of communication was a factor in the communication (gathering or sharing) of family health history. The survey instrument used was the FACES-IV (Olson, 2011) which measures the concepts of cohesion and adaptability within a family. A purposive sample of 94 African American women participated in the study. The average age of the participants was 58; 92% graduated from college and the majority identified as being of the Baptist faith. A third of the sample reported gathering information from other family members on chronic disease history and 37% shared information on family health history with family members for chronic disease prevention. Results showed that neither cohesion, adaptability or frequency of communication were statistically significant with the gathering or sharing of family health history information about chronic disease. Despite the lack of statistically significant results, understanding how family context (cohesion and adaptability) affects family communication patterns related to chronic disease, specifically among African Americans should be explored in future research.

Research Data and Supplementary Material