The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Evaluation of family and community social network characteristics among high-risk family members to improve cancer-related health behaviors

Date Funded: 
Jul 1, 2020
Funding Organization: 
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr Memnun Seven, with co-Principal Investigator Dr Mark Pachucki from the Department of Sociology, has received a University of Massachusetts Amherst Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Award to fund a study designed to understand protective and risk factors affecting high-risk individuals' cancer-related health behaviors at the individual, familial, and community level and to use these protective factors to improve early detection and prevention of cancer, particularly in this high-risk population.

The specific aim is to evaluate the effects of social network characteristics of high-risk individuals (for cancer) who have first degree relatives with cancer on the utilization of their cancer-related services, including screening, and genetic counseling and testing. The grant will allow the project team to develop community partnerships in Western Massachusetts and to generate data that will enable them to: 1) describe the social/family network systems and the role of family-social ties in individual members' engagement in cancer-related health behaviors, 2) understand the social and communicative context of families at risk of hereditary/familial cancer, with the aim of developing effective network-based interventions, and 3) identify key types of family members/constellations of relationships in a family network that might be identified as main cancer health educator or advocate, based on multi-level assessments.