Does a Family History of Chronic Disease Provide an Incentive to be Healthy?

Godfrey A. Gibbison, Georgia Southern University

This paper evaluates the relationship between family history of chronic illness, the individual’s appraisal of their own risk of developing a chronic disease, and the individual’s participation in health-related behaviours in a framework that relies on protection motivation theory and economic theory of health behavior. This paper uses a small but very detailed set of data collected in rural Georgia. Participants in a workplace wellness program were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire which included questions on the occurrence of chronic diseases within their family, which family member was diagnosed or died from a chronic disease, how long has it been since the last diagnosis or death, the participant’s appraisal of his/her risk of developing the disease and the timeframe in which he/she believes the disease will occur. We also collected detailed socioeconomic data, as well as data on participation in physical activity, alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.

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Presented in Poster Session 1