Behavior and knowledge trajectories among adult offspring of patients with an acute cardiac event: A call for a turning point in cardiac prevention.

Noa Vilchinsky*, Keren Nudelman-Rivkin, Bar Lambez, Rivka Tuval Maschiach, Morton Leibowitz, Morris Mosseri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Early detection is critical in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). An at-risk population for cardiac disease—and conveniently approachable in terms of timing—is cardiac patients’ offspring, at the moment when the parent is hospitalized for his or her own cardiac event. Based on the theoretical underpinning of life turning points, defined as perceived life course–changing events, we suggest that adult children would view the parent's cardiac event as a significant life turning point and that this understanding would motivate them to learn about CVD and to change their lifestyles accordingly. The current study's main goal was therefore to assess the baseline level and change over time in the adult offspring's knowledge of cardiac risk factors and cardiac health-promoting behaviors. Method: In a prospective design, 69 Israeli adult offspring of individuals newly diagnosed with an acute coronary event were approached and interviewed at 3 time points (on average 17 days, 55 days, and 125 days after the parent's hospitalization). Results: Contrary to our assumption, no significant change over time was detected among the adult children with regard to body mass index, physical activity, eating behaviors, or smoking. In fact, over time, they seemed to know less about CVD risk factors than they did originally. Conclusion: Adult children of cardiac patients seem to be reluctant to spontaneously engage in health-promoting behaviors. The option of approaching them, in a primary preventive act, as early as during a parent's hospitalization should be further investigated. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) <strong xmlns:lang="en">Public Significance Statement—The present study suggests that health providers should reach out for adult offspring of cardiac patients as early as during their parent' cardiac hospitalization in order to raise their awareness to their own cardiac risks and motivate them to engage in cardiac health promoting behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-368
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Israel Heart Fund


    • adult offspring
    • awareness
    • cardiovascular disease
    • health-promoting behaviors
    • primary prevention


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