Motivation for Health Screening Evaluation of Social Influence Among Mexican-American Adults

Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
American journal of preventive medicine (Impact Factor: 4.53). 04/2010; 38(4):396-402. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.12.028
Source: PubMed


Americans of Mexican origin are at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
This study aimed to evaluate the associations between the presence of social network members who encourage screening and individuals' motivation to undergo three types of health screening: blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose. The distinct roles of encouragers from different generations (older, same, and younger) were evaluated.
Adults of Mexican origin (N=452) aged 20-75 years from 162 households in Houston TX were included in this cross-sectional study by completing surveys in 2008 regarding their intentions to screen, health behaviors, illness beliefs, social networks, and family health history in either English or Spanish. Data were analyzed in 2009.
About one third of the participants reported having at least one same-generation network member who encouraged screening; smaller proportions reported having at least one older- (17% to 19%) and one younger-generation (11% to 12%) encourager. The presence of at least one older-generation encourager was associated with higher levels of intention to screen for all three screenings controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and illness beliefs. Having at least one same-generation encourager was associated with higher levels of intention to screen for blood cholesterol.
Social influence may play an important role in motivating individuals to engage in screenings. Network-based intervention involving older individuals to provide encouragement to younger network members should be explored as a means to increase motivation to screen among this population.

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