Abstract: Asian American Health Values and Family Communication in Context of Chronic Hepatitis B
This presentation offers a discussion of the preliminary results of a study that seeks to understand the lived experiences of Asian Americans with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and their family members, who provide care and support. More specifically, the study seeks to understand the ways, in which Asian American patients and their family members perceive illness in light of family communication, seek and apply hepatitis B information, and interact with social environments. Chronic hepatitis B has disproportionately affected Asian American populations in Michigan where the study is being conducted, and research efforts have highlighted the significance of the role of families in engaging affected members in treatment for chronic hepatitis B. Asian Americans make up 3.1% of the state population and have the highest rate (51.90% per 100,000) of chronic hepatitis B infection, compared to the state average of 10.93% (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 2018). Given the risk of intrafamilial transmission of chronic hepatitis B infection (Hurie, Mast & Davis, 1992), family-centered care appears as a promising perspective to consider in scaling up screening, vaccination, and treatment among foreign-born and at-risk communities. In fact, no other studies have explored how families talk about health in the home and the effects these conversations have on health outcomes of individuals, specifically in the context of chronic hepatitis B. Using the grounded theory, the study examines the factors influencing patient-family conversations about management of chronic hepatitis B, and how this communication works in concert with treatment and information offered by their physicians. The methods of this study are engagement with 20 chronic hepatitis B patients and primary caregivers in their families for in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The interviews are conducted with patients and family members separately. Additionally, the study involves observation of family member-patient-provider communication during medical visits at a local community health center. Findings are expected to provide health communication professionals and providers with some guidelines on the value and need for family-based communication interventions that leverage the specifics of an Asian-American sub-culture within the United States.