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Background and Aims: A comprehensive family health history still offers the best data for calculating risk of most complex diseases, but lack of informant accuracy hinders its use. Young adults transitioning from the parental home to more independent university life may be poor historians. The purpose of this study was to describe the quality of family health information acquired by young university students and to characterize the process by which they learn family health facts. Methods: Thematic content analysis was applied to interviews with undergraduate students enrolled in diverse classes across disciplines at a public US university. Results: Two processes, hanging around and trickling down, described the ways young adults learned family health information. The majority of respondents described both empowerment and a sense of vulnerability that resulted from having their family health information. Conclusions: Family health history provided by young adult students is characterized by inaccuracies related to lack of information and misunderstanding of information that is available. Young students are typically transitioning from the care of local primary care physicians into relationships with new healthcare providers, and are interested in family health history. Thus, this transition is an opportunity for nurses to construct an organized family health history with them.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing

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Nursing Commons