Risk Perceptions and Family History of Lung Cancer: Differences by Smoking Status Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Individuals with a family history of lung cancer have a two- to threefold increased risk for developing this disease. Family history information may be useful in lung cancer prevention and control approaches, but research is needed regarding how individuals interpret this information. This study examined associations between lung cancer family history and individuals' risk perceptions, based on smoking status. METHODS: Data were analyzed from 5,105 U.S. adult respondents to the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, which was conducted with a nationally representative sample. RESULTS: In multivariate models, family history of lung cancer was positively associated with absolute and relative risk perceptions among all respondents (β=0.60, 95% CI=0.33-0.87 and β=0.17, 95% CI=0.04-0.31, respectively) and among never smokers (β=0.40, 95% CI=0.14-0.67 and β=0.14, 95% CI=0.01-0.27, respectively). However, these associations were not significant for current and former smokers. CONCLUSION: While perceived risk was associated with family history of lung cancer among never smokers, this was not true for other smoking status subgroups. Therefore, former and current smokers might not respond as intended to cancer prevention or cessation messages tailored based on family history. The results suggest directions for future research into how to best integrate family history information into prevention and control efforts.

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, L. S., & Kaphingst, K. A.

citation count

  • 15

publication date

  • April 2010