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Family Factors as Correlates of Diet in Relatives of Colon Cancer Patients

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Objectives : To examine family social support and closeness to the patient for their association with diet in first-degree relatives (FDRs) of colon cancer patients.

Methods : Participants (N=98) were interviewed by telephone to assess study constructs. Multiple hierarchical regressions examined relationships among family factors and diet.

Results : Family social support was associated with healthier diets, particularly fruits and vegetables. However, FDRs closest to the cancer patient had less healthy diets.

Conclusions : FDRs with close relationships to their family member with cancer may be in greatest need of dietary intervention. Diet is understudied in this high-risk population and warrants more investigation.

Keywords: colon cancer; diet; family social support; first degree relatives

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Viginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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