Narrative Accounts of Hereditary Risk: Knowledge About Family History, Lay Theories of Disease, and “Internal” and “External” Causation

Tom Sanders, Rona Campbell, Jenny Donovan, Debbie Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study, the authors sought to examine how risk information is articulated in relation to health problems that people identify as personally important and relevant. The respondents were receptive to health education messages, using different types of information in relation to its personal relevance and as a resource for managing and exercising control over perceived risk. People were not fatalistic about disease risk, as reported in previous research. Instead, they were responsive to complex public health messages and actively engaged in rationalizing their health risks, although this did not necessarily result in behavioral change. Consequently, a theoretical distinction exists between taking responsibility for evaluating complex public health messages and taking responsibility for behavioral change. The authors conclude that people's rationalizations about health risks often mirror the medical model of disease, suggesting that they are responsive to, and not fatalistic toward, such public health information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-520
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Health Research
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007

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