Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 37–49 | Cite as

A Model of Disease-Specific Worry in Heritable Disease: The Influence of Family History, Perceived Risk and Worry About Other Illnesses

  • Terry A. DiLorenzo
  • Julie Schnur
  • Guy H. Montgomery
  • Joel Erblich
  • Gary Winkel
  • Dana H. Bovbjerg
Original Research

Disease-related worry is associated with family history and perceived risk of that disease; however, the influences of general risk perceptions and tendencies to worry about diseases have been neglected in the literature. This study investigates a model of disease-specific worry which includes family history, disease-specific perceived risk, and perceived risk for and worry about other diseases. Participants completed a survey assessing these variables in relation to several heritable diseases. Structural equation modeling found that family history predicted disease-specific perceived risk but not perceived risk for other diseases. Disease-specific perceived risk predicted disease-specific worry and worry about other diseases. Perceived risk for other diseases predicted worry about other diseases and disease-specific perceived risk but not disease-specific worry. Disease-specific worry predicted worry about other diseases. This model was supported across several diseases and indicates that disease-specific and general considerations of risk influence worry about a disease and should be considered in interventions.


perceived risk worry about disease family history chronic disease. 



This study was supported by the Yeshiva University Faculty Summer Fellowship, 2001.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry A. DiLorenzo
    • 1
    • 4
  • Julie Schnur
    • 2
  • Guy H. Montgomery
    • 2
  • Joel Erblich
    • 2
  • Gary Winkel
    • 3
  • Dana H. Bovbjerg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStern College for Women, Yeshiva UniversityNew YorkU.S.
  2. 2.Department of Oncological SciencesMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkU.S.
  3. 3.City University of New York Graduate SchoolNew YorkU.S.
  4. 4.Stern CollegeNew YorkU.S.

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