1. Kocourek, J.
  2. Reid, B.

Article Content

Background and Aims: People who have siblings, parents, or spouses with coronary heart disease (CHD) have an increased risk of developing the disease themselves. Coronary risk assessments and early interventions are key strategies in CHD prevention. Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise can decrease an individual's risk of heart disease. The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of a family heart health (FHH) intervention on stage of change constructs of exercise behavior and leisure time exercise, in family members of patients with CHD.


Methods and Materials: 150 family members of patients with heart disease were recruited at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Participants completed questionnaires with measurements of stage of change constructs of exercise (readiness to change exercise behavior, decisional balance, processes of change, self-efficacy), and Godin Leisure Time exercise levels, at three time points: 1) baseline (pre-FHH intervention), post intervention, and at 3 months follow-up. A single group pre-test post-test design using Chi-square and repeated measures ANOVA analyses were used to determine the effect of the FHH Intervention on stage of change constructs and leisure time exercise.


Results: Results showed a significant increase in: 1) the proportion of participants in the combined action/maintenance stages of exercise readiness at three months follow-up compared to baseline (p<.01); 2) use of processes of change at three months follow-up compared to baseline (p<.05), specifically Consciousness Raising (M=2.75+/-.98 vs. 2.62+/-.97), Self-Reevaluation (M=2.81+/-.98 vs. 2.67+/-.97), Helping Relationships (3.57+/-.97 vs. 3.45+/-.95), Self-liberation (3.41+/-.63 vs. 3.34+/-.62), and Stimulus Control (3.03+/-.77 vs. 2.94+/-.76); 3) self-efficacy at post intervention compared to baseline, (p<.01); 4) total weekly leisure time exercise minutes (M=246+/-264 minutes vs. 220+/-241 minutes) (p<.05), total weekly moderate exercise minutes (M=96+/-143 minutes vs. 84+/-144 minutes) (p<.05), total weekly combined moderate/strenuous exercise minutes (M=123+/-181 minutes. vs. 105+/-175 minutes) (p<.05), and total Exercise METS (M=21+/-19 vs. 18+/-17) (p<.05), were all higher at three months compared to baseline. No significant differences were found in decisional balance between the three times of measurement (p=.524).


Conclusions: The Family Heart Health Intervention showed positive impacts on stage of change constructs and leisure time exercise levels of participants. A targeted program aimed at family members can be an effective way to provide stage-based exercise modification to individuals at high risk for heart disease.