The Influence of Family History and Current Lifestyle on

College Students’ Memory

  

Dana N. Miller

      

 

 Abstract

            The study examined whether there was an increase in memory loss depending on the participant’s family history of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as the participant’s current lifestyle. The participants were comprised of 41 traditional college age students at McKendree University. The experiment was conducted by using a memory test of 15 words and survey research which was analyzed using t tests. The findings were not significant in showing a relation between family history of risk factors for AD and dementia and higher levels of current memory loss, although the results did show correlations between lifestyle choices and memory loss among college age students. The implications of the research were that if an individual has a family history of AD and dementia then the person should make every effort to live a lifestyle that might delay or prevent the risk factors of those diseases from developing.

 

     

It is widely accepted that some disorders are considered to be neurological and some are lifestyle disorders. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a growing epidemic in the United States and is one that can not be firmly diagnosed until after an autopsy determines if amyloid plaques are present in the brain. According to the previous statement, Alzheimer’s disease is neurological. Family history of Alzheimer’s and lifestyle choices can also place a person at risk for developing the disease later in life. Therefore, there are many contributing factors to the development of the disorder and it is imperative to adopt a healthy lifestyle at an early age in an attempt to avoid the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. 

            It is important to be informed of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease so that bad habits regard health can be rectified and good habits continued. Also, since there appears to be a genetic component in some cases, awareness of family history of AD and the risk factor is crucial to help prevent development. Individuals, who know they have a family history of AD, risk factors, or who currently possess some of the risk factors associated with AD, could modify their lifestyle accordingly.

            College students are in an age group that can benefit from awareness of AD and risk factors due to their age as well as their access to a wealth of knowledge and resources to become educated on the topic. In addition, many college age students may be living a lifestyle that is not favorable to AD. For instance, smoking, excessive stress, alcohol consumption, little or no exercise, and little sleep are just a few of the risk factors that have an impact on many college students. These risk factors also contribute to working memory loss that can have a negative effect on academics. Research indicates that the majority of the risk factors associated with the onset of AD can also cause memory loss in healthy young people that are not in the typical age group for AD development. Therefore, it is important to research the relationship between the lifestyles led by college age students, their memory during the college years, and the development of AD later in life.

A number of studies on memory indicate there can be many factors that interfere with memory encoding. Among these interferences there can be any of the risk factors mentioned earlier as well as visual and auditory distractions. Pellegrino, Suegel, and Dhawn (1975) stated that although interference has been heavily studied regarding long term memory loss, short term memory retention should not be neglected. Pellegrino, et al (1975), hypothesized that there are differences between visual and auditory memory storage capabilities when there are distractions. Although their sample size was small, only 16 college age students, it produced significant results. Their results suggested that there was a significant difference between visual and auditory retention and visual retention was higher than auditory retention. The authors hypothesized that the reason for the results was due to the presence of an auditory distraction and the absence of a that visual distraction. Therefore, the authors conducted another experiment including a visual distraction. The results, from the later experiment were similar to those of the first suggesting difference between picture and word recall, but recall of pictures declined when there was a visual and auditory distraction (Pellegrino et al., 1975).

            The previous study is important because it was one of the first studies focused on short term memory retention. Additionally the research was conducted with college age participants, which suggests that the elderly are not the only population that should be concerned with memory and how new memories are formed. Short term memory is relevant to the study of AD and dementia because short term memory storage is the first step to making memories long term. Therefore if an individual is having difficulty recalling items that are stored in short term memory, an evaluation of factors that may be causing the interruption may be needed.

             Past studies have suggested that individuals with higher education are at a smaller risk of developing AD and have better memory retention overall. Bahrick, Hall, and Da Costa (2008), agree with the idea that more education and higher grade point averages help memory. Their recent study included two hundred and sixty seven alumni of Ohio Wesleyan University who were asked to recall their grades during their time at the university (Bahrick et. al., 2008). The participants were those who had graduated within a year and fifty four years of the study. The range of graduating years was desirable because there was a wide range of ages, as well as the sample size, which included primarily psychology students. The researchers presented the participants with three different ways to document the courses and grades earned. It is assumed that the researchers gave three different forms to each participant to test whether or not the participants were confident in their ability to recall their grades. The results show that “76% of the grades were recalled correctly; 24% of the responses were errors of commission. Eighty-nine percent of As , 72% of Bs, and 62% of grades of C are correctly recalled” (Bahrick et. al., 2008). In addition the data suggests that students with a mean GPA of 3.64 recalled grades more accurately than those with lower grade point averages.

            Research on memory loss and academic achievement is important to Alzheimer’s disease because it can help healthcare providers as well as those who may be trying to delay the aging process, with vital information with regard to strategies to improve and maintain memory. It seems as though a large portion of AD patients are those who did not pursue higher education or those who did not engage in activities to stimulate the mind. The type of research conducted by Bahrick et al. could indicate that it is wise to maintain a lifelong need for brain stimulation. Even if higher education is not the route, some sort of education to further develop the mind is important in preserving memory and creating new memories.

Among the lifestyle choices that may have a negative effect on memory is sleep deprivation. Palzella (1975), conducted a study on sleep deprivation and memory as a follow up to a study by Williams, Lubin and Goodnow (1959). Palzella’s study included five male participants ranging from 21 years old to 32 years old. The participants bedtimes were considered to be average, ranging from 10:30pm to midnight and waking up between 6:00 am and 8:00 am (Palzella 1975). In addition, one of the five participants was the author of the experimental paper. It seems the research would be more credible if it included females and was the sample size was larger. Also, there may have been some experimenter bias given the fact that the experimenter included himself as a participant in the research.

            The participants were given visuals of letters and numbers individually in a small room. Auditory stimuli were controlled by two fans that were used to block out potential noise distractions (Polzella 1975). The participants were given the same word and number test when they were considered fully rested and also sleep deprived. The author controlled sleep deprivation by having the participants meet at the experiment site at 11 pm and keeping them awake until 6am. The results of Polzella’s experiment indicated that there was a significant difference between the words and numbers remembered after a night’s sleep and a night awake. The participants collectively had lower scores after a night of being sleep deprived. Polzella’s study suggests that sleep deprivation may negatively affect short term memory from being encoded into long term memory. The amount of sleep an individual gets appears to be a key factor in creating permanent long term memories.

            Memory may also be decreased in those who have diabetes and hypoglycemia because a decrease in insulin causes the brain to not have enough energy to work sufficiently. Past studies have shown problems with sensory memory in those with hypoglycemia, but little has been done to research other parts of memory including short-term memory and long term memory (Sommerfield, Deary, McAulay, & Frier, 2003). Sommerfield et al., 2003, suggested that research should be done to see the effects of hypoglycemia on healthy young adults who do not have diabetes. The study included 9 male and 7 female participants with a mean age of 29.6 years old and did not have

diabetes or a family history of diabetes (Sommerfield et al., 2003). The participants were given verbal, visual, working memory, and non-memory tests. The verbal memory test included a list of 15 words that were read aloud to each participant and they were to write down the words they remembered as quickly as possible. The participants were also injected with a medication to lower their blood sugar level to imitate that of hypoglycemia. The results indicated that memory was significantly impaired on all memory test given (Sommerfield et. al., 2003).

            Along the lines of diabetes, research has been conducted to see the effects of aspartame, artificial sweetener, on memory. Orange (1998) used sixty college age students and compared the performance of those consuming aspartame and those who were not, on memory test. The participants were divided into five groups and all given different beverages to drink. The beverages included; regular cola, regular caffeine free cola, diet cola, diet caffeine free cola, and water (Orange, 1998). After each group consumed their designated drinks, memory test were conducted including; word recall, word recognition, picture recall and oral recall (Orange, 2008). After analysis of the data, the results indicated that the college students who consumed the diet caffeine free cola scored lower than all other groups. Over all the groups who drank soda scored lower than the group who drank water.

            The previous study suggests a diet that includes artificial sweeteners on a regular basis may be a risk factor for short term as well as long term memory loss. It also contradicts to some degree the research on the effects of low blood sugar levels and high blood sugar levels on memory. Assuming that diabetes has negative effects on memory, those who suffer from diabetes may be recommended to use artificial sweeteners as a substitute. Using artificial sweeteners may not be beneficial to diabetes patients if it also has the potential of a negative impact on memory.

            Another risk factor for AD is cardiovascular problems. When there are obstructions to the normal blood flow, neurons in the hippocampus are more susceptible to damage and death (McDonald, 2002). There are several causes for cardiovascular difficulties but the relevant cause is diet. Diets that can cause slow blood flow include excess fat and proteins. It is important that individuals maintain a healthy diet includes a balance of foods that are healthy for the heart.

            According to the literature, stress can have a negative impact on many aspects of health, including a lower immune system. Individuals who experience long periods of stress run the risk of damaging the hippocampus due to the “prolonged exposure to glucorticoids” ( McDonald, 2002), that result in dendritic shrinkage (McDonald, 2002). In addition, people who experience traumatic and stressful events during childhood are more likely to have problems with stress in adulthood because they have developed an inefficient HPA axis (hypothalamo-adreno-pituitary) that regulates responses to stressful events. The combination of hippocampus and HPA damage may lead to memory loss (McDonald, 2002). Therefore, the research implies the importance of managing stress from an early age because stress can have detrimental effects not only from a psychological perspective but a neurological perspective as well.

It is a widely accepted fact that nicotine has a negative impact on memory due to the damage it does to the brain and cognitive functioning. Along with the negative impact of nicotine there are also negative consequences on cognition during withdrawal. According to Hirshman et al., (2004), “there are at least three reasons tobacco abstinence might impair cognitve performance. First, the intrusive craving that accompanies abstinence in habitual smokers disrupts focused attention. Given that attention plays a role on a broad range of cognitive tasks, this craving can impair cognitive performance. Second, decreases in brain nicotine levels associated with tobacco abstinence may

directly impair the functioning of brain areas that mediate cognitive performance. Third, tobacco abstinence can produce lethargy, leading to a general impairment of cognitive performance” (Hirshman et al., 2004). Hirshman et al., (2004) studied the effects of nicotine absence in smokers on memory test. The results suggested that the absence of nicotine impaired recognition memory. The article also indicated that these results imply that there are positive benefits to the administration of nicotine before memory tasks. It seems as though before an assumption like the previous statement can be made, a comparison of abstinent smokers and non smokers should be conducted to determine whether or not being absent of nicotine completely is more beneficial to memory than nicotine. Hirshman et. al., (2004), research is interesting because it is claiming that nicotine may be beneficial when it is widely accepted to not be beneficial to proper brain activity.

            There have been other studies conducted on the characteristics of smokers and non smokers. According to research by Veldman and Bown (1965), smoker’s have lower academic achievement than non smokers. The researchers did not go into depth about the cause for the difference in aptitude, but one can speculate, as stated earlier in this paper, smoking damages brain functioning. Assuming that the nicotine has a negative impact on brain functioning, it would also slow down cognition that in turn effects memory recall and development. In addition, Veldman and Brown (1965) reported that the females in their study of 2321 college freshmen, indicated low amounts of social participation in high school and low self esteem among smokers. Poor social interaction and self esteem can lead to depression and depression is a risk factor for AD and dementia. It is important to notice how risk factors and signs of potential risk factors influence each other. For instance, clinical depression can be caused be a neurological imbalance of hormones or damage affecting how the brain works. In addition, many people who are depressed also smoke to help relieve tension and ease stress. Not only are the individuals depressed and suffering from a chemical imbalance, but they are also engaging in smoking which damages the brain as well. Smoking is a lifestyle choice that can be corrected, therefore eliminating it as a potential risk for AD later in life. Depression seems to be harder to prevent if the depression is a result of an imbalance in the brain.

            Memory may be affected by depression in a negative way according to Birch and Davidson’s (2007) research comparing depressed older adults and non depressed older adults on the autobiographical memory test (AMT). There were 17 depressed participants and 17 non depressed participants who were given the AMT as well as the Wechler Memory Scale III and the Wechsler Test of Adult Reading. The researchers hypothesized that, “depressed older adults would retrieve fewer specific memories, and more categoric memories , than non-depressed older adults on the AMT….there would be a positive relationship between the number of specific memories retrieved by older adults on the AMT and both IQ and working memory; and a negative relationship between the number of categoric memories retrieved and both IQ and working memory” (Birch & Davidson, 2007). The data indicated depressed individuals retrieved a significantly lower amount of memories than those non-depressed individuals. Also, the results suggested that there was no relationship between IQ and memory recall in the depressed. It seems as if there would be a negative correlation between IQ and memory recall, according to past researcher that reports that higher levels of education decrease the risk of memory loss. The difference may be if there is a relation between IQ and depression. In literature, it is suggested that low socio-economic status does not increase the probability of depression. If the previous statement is strongly supported then it is feasible that there would be no correlation between IQ and memory loss.

            Within the literature on AD and dementia there have been studies on prevention techniques individuals need to consider for their daily lives. For example, Cassidy et al., (2004) suggests that with the growing number of elderly, steps to identifying prevention methods should be top priorities in the health care field around the world. The author’s reports physical activity as reducing the risk of cognitive decline, which includes memory loss, and that improving and increasing such activities may be beneficial. It is clear that staying physically active in important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in every way. Active people tend to have less illness and physical pain later in life. Active lifestyles are also helpful in prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and depression. In addition, active people are less likely than non-active people to be smokers. All the benefits mentioned previously are risk factors for AD, therefore physical activity is positive in helping to prevent the disorder.

            Once a person shows signs of AD their everyday tasks may not be conducted as usual. Giovannetti et. al., (2007) conducted a study of forty six AD patients to evaluate if the task enhancers provided for AD patients were really helping with everyday tasks. The research indicated that they do indeed help AD patients. AD not only impairs memory, it also interferes with the patient’s everyday life. It is often forgotten that memories do not only include family and important events, they also include, how to drive a car, how to cook food, and even what word to use. AD affects an abundance of everyday tasks, therefore making it extremely difficult for some to function without assistance. With the growing number of the American population over the age of 60, research and awareness is highly important to society. The literature on AD and dementia clearly establishes a link between the effects of genetics and lifestyle choices on the disorder. Awareness is key to the future decline of AD diagnosis in America. It seems as though if Americans were informed and understood how detrimental AD is to the patient, their family, and the economy, they would modify their current unhealthy habits or continue healthy ones.

The present study examined how lifestyle choices that included or did not include the risk factors indicated in the literature had an impact on college student’s memory. In addition, the current study examined whether family history of AD or the risk factors of AD affected college students memory. The hypothesis for the present experiment was that college students whose current lifestyle includes the risk factors would have lower scores on the memory test than students who do not have the risk factors. Additionally, students with a family history of AD and high risk factors would score lower on the memory test than students with little family history of AD or risk factors. Memory level will be identified by a memory test of 15 word and lifestyle and family history will be evaluated through a single blind survey.

Method

Participants

Participants were 41college age students ranging from the age of 18 to 26 enrolled at McKendree University. The majority were White Americans and considered themselves as middle class. The sample sized is similar to the population at McKendree because the majority of the students are White males. Participants were chosen by convenience sample; the classes that were held when the experimenter was not in class, and the classes that the experimenter was in.

Testing Materials

Participants were given a memory test that included a list of 15 words presented through a power point presentation slide. The memory test was used to assess the short term memory of the participants. They were also given a survey consisting of 33 questions including a confidentiality statement. The survey was administered to record the current lifestyle behaviors and the family medical and educational background of the participants.

Procedure

The proposal for the current research experiment was submitted to McKendree University’s Institutional Review Board for approval because of the sensitive nature of the topic explored. After approval from the IRB, the memory test and survey was field tested on a class to test for clarity of the questionnaire and memory test. The class was given the 15 word memory test and found no objections. The class offered constructive criticism of a few questions on the survey which were later altered to provide clarification for the participants. Once the field test was completed, 41 surveys were distributed to various classes on the McKendree University campus on class at a time until all 41 were completed. Before the memory test was given each class was told they were taking a memory and family history test for the Experimental Psychology course. Next, the classes was instructed to look at the power point slide on the projection screen for 45 seconds, on the time was up they would be told to stop. They were then told to write down as many words as they could remember on the back of the surveys. The participants were not told when they were to look at the words that they would have to write them down later. Informing the participants that they would have to remember the words was omitted from the directions and was done to control for competitive natured individuals. After the participants finished writing down the words from the memory test, they were instructed to complete the survey and turn it in to the experimenter.

 

Results

            A memory test consisting of 15 words and a survey were given to 41 undergraduate students at a small private university to test the hypothesis predicting that the more chronic diseases in a family the lower the memory test score will be. An individual samples t-test comparing memory test scores and the number of chronic diseases indicated that low memory scores (M=8.08) did not differ significantly from the high memory scores (M=7.93), t (32) = .69, p =.495. Also, independent samples t-tests were run comparing certain risk factors to memory scores. An independent samples t-test comparing memory scores and the hours of sleep indicated that less sleep (M=8.733), did not differ significantly from the higher amounts of sleep scores (M= 7.66), t (37) = 1.359, p = .182. In addition, an independent samples t-test comparing GPA and memory scores indicated that higher GPA’s (M= 3.11) did not differ significantly from low GPA’s (M= 2.84), t (27) = -1.341, p = .191, although it was in the direction predicted. Correlations ran between smoking and the number of chronic disease indicated a significant correlation (r =-.436, p = .005). Significant correlation was also found between memory and birth order (r = -.265, p = .047), with oldest and only having lower memory scores than the middle and youngest.  In addition, significant positive correlation was indicated between how many times a doctor was seen in the last year and socioeconomic status (r = .352, p = .012), with the higher socioeconomic status participants seeing a doctor more frequently in a year than the lower socioeconomic status participants.

                                                                                 

  

 

Table 1. A Memory and Chronic Disorder T-Test

 

 

 

 

chronicRecode

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

Memory

1.00

5

8.8000

2.94958

1.31909

2.00

29

7.9310

2.54854

.47325

 

 

Table 1. B. Memory and Chronic Disorder T-Test

 

 

Levene's Test for Equality of Variances

t-test for Equality of Means

  

F
 

Sig.

t

df

Sig. (2-tailed)

Mean Difference

Std. Error Difference

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

         

Lower
 

Upper

Memory

Equal variances assumed

.208

.651

.690

32

.495

.86897

1.26000

-1.69758

3.43551

 

Equal variances not assumed
 

 

 

.620

5.084

.562

.86897

1.40142

-2.71567

4.45360

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

            The results of the present study did not indicate any significant relationship indicating that current risk factors or family history directly affect present memory. Although, there were significant correlations between the memory test scores and a few risks factors. For instance, significant correlation was found between how many times a year a participant saw a doctor and their socioeconomic status, indicating that those with lower economic status may not catch the warning signs of AD or dementia as quickly as the upper classes. The present study has also helped to resolve the original problem by bring awareness to college age students about monitoring their lifestyle choices to help prevent future illness.

Given that there were significant correlations between risk factors, the amount of chronic disorders, and memory test scores, the study implies that their may have been significant data if the sample size was larger. The limitations to the present study were sample size, lack of sufficient diversity among participants, and the mean age. Future studies may benefit from a longitudinal study starting with children and following them through adulthood to test if there were any significant changes in results.

  

References

Bahrick, H., Hall, L., & Da Costa, L. (2008, February). Fifty years of memory of college grades: Accuracy and distortions. Emotion, 8(1), 13-22. Retrieved March 15, 2008, doi:10.1037/1528-3542.8.1.13

Birch, L., & Davidson, K. (2007, June). Specificity of autobiographical memory in depressed older adults and its relationship with working memory and IQ. The British Journal Of Clinical Psychology / The British Psychological Society, 46(Pt 2), 175-186. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from MEDLINE with Full Text database.

Giovannetti, T., Bettcher, B., Brennan, L., Libron, D., Kessler, R., & Duey, K. (2008, March). Coffee with jelly or unbuttered toast: Commissions and omissions are dissociable aspects of everyday action impairment in Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychology, 22(2), 235-245. Retrieved May 8, 2008, doi:10.1037/0894-4105.22.2.235

Hirshman, E., Rhodes, D., Zinser, M., & Merritt, P. (2004, February). The Effect of Tobacco Abstinence on Recognition Memory, Digit Span Recall, and Attentional Vigilance. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 12(1), 76-83. Retrieved April 8, 2008, doi:10.1037/1064-1297.12.1.76

McCraken, E Janet., Hayes, A Jeffrey., Dell, Don. (1997, May). Attributions of Responsibility for Memory Problems In Older Adults. Journal of Counseling and Development, 75, 385-391. Retrieved March 9, 2008

McDonald, R. (2002, September). Multiple combinations of co-factors produce variants of age-related cognitive decline: A theory. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, 56(3), 221-339. Retrieved April 3, 2008, doi:10.1037/h0087399

Meck, W., & Church, R. (1987, August). Nutrients that modify the speed of internal clock and memory storage processes. Behavioral Neuroscience, 101(4), 465-475. Retrieved March 1, 2008, doi:10.1037/0735-7044.101.4.465

Mickes, L., Wixted, J., Fennema-Notestine, C., Galasko, D., Bondi, M., Thal, L., et al. (2007, November). Progressive impairment on neuropsychological tasks in a longitudinal study of preclinical Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychology, 21(6), 696-705. Retrieved March 1, 2008, doi:10.1037/0894-4105.21.6.696

Pellegrino, J., Siegel, A., & Dhawan, M. (1975, March). Short-term retention of pictures and words: Evidence for dual coding systems. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 1(2), 95-102. Retrieved Feb 28, 2008, doi:10.1037/0278-7393.1.2.95

Polzella, D. (1975, March). Effects of sleep deprivation on short-term recognition memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 1(2), 194-200. Retrieved March 15, 2008, doi:10.1037/0278-7393.1.2.194

Oberauer, K., Schulze, R., Wilhelm, O., & Süß, H. (2005, January). Working Memory and Intelligence--Their Correlation and Their Relation: Comment on Ackerman, Beier, and Boyle (2005). Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 61-65. Retrieved May 1, 2008, doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.1.61

Orange, C. (1998, March). Effects of aspartame on college student memory and learning. College Student Journal, 32(1), 87. Retrieved March 25, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.

Sampson, M. J., Kinderman, P., Watts, S., & Sembi, S. (2003). Psychopathology and autobiographical memory in stroke and non-stroke hospitalized patients. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18,23-32. Retrieved March 15, 2008

Sommerfield, A., Deary, I., McAulay, V., & Frier, B. (2003, January). Moderate hypoglycemia impairs multiple memory functions in healthy adults. Neuropsychology, 17(1), 125-132. Retrieved March 30, 2008, doi:10.1037/0894-4105.17.1.125

Veldman, D., & Bown, O. (1969, February). Personality and performance characteristics associated with cigarette smoking among college freshmen. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 33(1), 109-119. Retrieved March 30, 2008, from MEDLINE with Full Text database.

 

 

Appendix

Family History Survey

Thank you for participating in this survey. Participation is on a voluntary basis. You have the freedom to withdraw at any time. The information you provide is anonymous and confidential. If you should have any other questions do not hesitate to contact me Dana Miller at dnmiller@mckendree.edu or Dr. Bosse x. 6882 or at mbosse@mckendree.edu.

 

1. Age___

2. Ethnicity

            White/Caucasian         Black/Non Hispanic        Asian                      Hispanic   

Other_________________

3. Estimate Cumulative GPA ______

4. The last time you read a book that was not a class assignment was? _______________

            The title _______________________________________

5. How often do you exercise for at least 30 minutes at a time?

            Once a week               2-4 times a week         5-7 times a week        

When I feel like it           Never          I am an athlete at McK

6. Do you suffer from body pains such as neck, shoulder, hand, wrist, or knee pain?

 

1          2          3          4          5          6          7

        Never                       Sometimes                  Very Often

 

7. How often do you use pain medicine such as ALEVE or TYLENOL?

           

Never, I just suffer      Daily               Weekly            Monthly         

 

Only when I need it

 

 

8. On average how many hours of sleep do you get on a school night?

            Less than 4 hrs            4-6hrs              7-10 hrs           10+hrs

9. Do you take a multi-vitamin?

1          2          3          4          5          6          7

        Never                       Sometimes                  Very Often

 

10. Do you smoke cigarettes?

            Yes__              No__

11. If you answered yes to #10, how often do you smoke?

            Everyday         1-3 times a week         Only when others are smoking around me

            Other __________________

12. Do you use illegal drugs?

1          2          3          4          5          6          7

        Never                       Sometimes                  Very Often

 

13. How many siblings do you have? _____

14. What is your birth order?

            Only                Oldest             Middle                        Youngest         Other_______

15. What type of household did you grow up in?

            Single Parent               Both parents in same home    

Both parents but different homes                   Lived with Guardian                          Part of childhood was single parent part was married           

Lived with Grandparent/Grandparents          Other _______________________

 16. How old is your mother?

            35-45               46-56               57-67               67 and Older  

Have no idea               If deceased at approximate age _____________

17. How old is your father?

            35-45               46-56               57-67               67 and Older  

Have no idea               If deceased at approximate age _____________

18. Age of maternal grandmother (mother’s mother)?

            46-56               57-67               67 and Older  

Have no idea               If deceased at approximate age _____________

19. Age of maternal grandfather?

46-56               57-67               67 and Older  

Have no idea               If deceased at approximate age _____________

20. Age of paternal grandmother (father’s mother)?

            46-56               57-67               67 and Older  

Have no idea               If deceased at approximate age _____________

21. Age of paternal grandfather?

            46-56               57-67               67 and Older  

Have no idea               If deceased at approximate age _____________

22. What is the highest level of education your father earned?

Some High School      High School    Some College       College Degree     Masters Doctorate/MD      Other              Don’t know

 23. What is the highest level of education your mother earned?

Some High School      High School    Some College      College Degree

Masters            Doctorate/MD     Other           Don’t know

24. What is the highest level of education your maternal grandmother earned?

Less than High School       Some High School   High School   

Some College     College Degree     Masters       Doctorate/MD     Other     

Don’t know

25. What is the highest level of education your maternal grandfather earned?

Less than High School       Some High School   High School   

Some College     College Degree     Masters       Doctorate/MD     Other     

Don’t know

26. What is the highest level of education your paternal grandmother earned?

Less than High School       Some High School   High School   

Some College     College Degree     Masters       Doctorate/MD     Other     

Don’t know

27. What is the highest level of education you paternal grandfather earned?

Less than High School       Some High School   High School   

Some College     College Degree     Masters       Doctorate/MD     Other     

Don’t know

28. What economic class level would you consider yourself to be in?

1            2          3          4          5          6          7

          Low                             Middle                         Upper

 29. How often do you participate in organized religious activities?

            Once a week               More than once a week           1-2 times a month                   Only on Holidays        For special occasions                     Never

30. How many times have you seen a healthcare professional in the last year?

            0          1 time              2 times             3 or more times          

31. Please circle all that apply to you family history (either you have/had or at least 1 family member has/ had the following).

            Asthma                        Dementia                     Heart Disease

Arthritis                       Diabetes                      Lung Cancer

Alzheimer’s                 Dyslexia                      Stroke