Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Beliefs about genes, God, can change health communication strategies

Date:
March 12, 2012
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Beliefs about nature and nurture can affect how patients and their families respond to news about their diagnosis, according to health communication researchers.

Beliefs about nature and nurture can affect how patients and their families respond to news about their diagnosis, according to Penn State health communication researchers.

Related Articles


Understanding how people might respond to a health problem, especially when the recommendations for adapting to the condition may seem contradictory to their beliefs, is crucial to planning communication strategies, said Roxanne Parrott, Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Health Policy and Administration.

People affected with known genetic or chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome and neurofibromatosis, tend to communicate differently about their illness based on their uncertainty of genetics' role in health.

"When a person is uncertain about an illness, it can also predict how they manage that uncertainty and how they desire to talk or communicate about the condition," Parrott said.

When patients and family members are willing to talk about a diagnosis, they have a better chance of connecting with sources of help and support.

"Emotions experienced about a condition impact patient and family members' communication," said Parrott. "How fearful, angry, or sad they feel is part of the uncertainty about the condition and affects how patients and their families seek to navigate the situation."

"What we can do is design programs for genetic counselors that suggest different scripts for communicating based on understanding how people might respond to a diagnosis," Parrott said.

Parrott, who worked with Kathryn F. Peters, a certified genetic counselor and instructor of biobehavioral health, and Tara Traeder, graduate student in communication arts and sciences, said people clustered into four groups based on how they understand the role genetics plays in health. Uncertain relativists are not sure what role personal behaviors, religious faith and social networks play in genetics and health. Personal control relativists tend to be more certain about how personal behavior affects genetics. Genetic determinists believe that only genes determine their health, while integrated relativists believe that behavior, faith and support can affect genetic expression.

While integrated relativists seem to have the most balanced approach to understanding genetics and health, the researchers said that they also had the highest levels of uncertainty about living with the condition of the four groups. People who were more likely to believe genetics are the dominant predictor of their health wanted to communicate more about their condition than those who believe they have more personal control in health.

The researchers, who reported their findings in the online version of the journal Health Communication, analyzed data from a survey of 541 family members or patients diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, Marfan syndrome or Down syndrome. Participants were asked questions about the status of their diagnosis, beliefs on genetics, personal behavior, religious and social life, illness uncertainty and how they manage their uncertainty about living with the diagnosis or living with a family member who has had the diagnosis.

To determine how the participants understood the connection between genetics, and personal behavior in health, the researchers asked participants several questions including whether alcohol can cause changes in the genes of adults. They were also asked whether participants believed drug use could cause genetic changes.

The researchers also asked participants how a higher power or attending a house of worship could affect genes to assess the religious beliefs of the participant.

The survey explored participants' negative feelings and links to how they preferred to communicate about the condition.

Parrott said that communication strategies around the four frameworks linked to beliefs about the role of genetics for health can help simplify health communication strategies and prepare counselors for patient responses.

"A significant number of people are affected by these conditions and it's important to remember that communicating with patients and family is not always a simple thing," said Parrott. "There are times they need to be hopeful and times that they need to be mad."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Beliefs about genes, God, can change health communication strategies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312114119.htm>.
Penn State. (2012, March 12). Beliefs about genes, God, can change health communication strategies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312114119.htm
Penn State. "Beliefs about genes, God, can change health communication strategies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312114119.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins