Searching for the Kinkeepers: Historian Gender, Age, and Type 2 Diabetes Family History

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Kinkeepers facilitate family communication and may be key to family medical history collection and dissemination. Middle-aged women are frequently kinkeepers. Using type 2 diabetes (T2DM) as a model, we explored whether the predicted gender and age effects of kinkeeping can be extended to family medical historians. Through a U.S. telephone survey, nondiabetic Mexican Americans (n = 385), Blacks (n = 387), and Whites (n = 396) reported family histories of T2DM. Negative binomial regressions used age and gender to predict the number of affected relatives reported. Models were examined for the gender gap, parabolic age effect, and gender-by-age interaction predicted by kinkeeping. Results demonstrated support for gender and parabolic age effects but only among Whites. Kinkeeping may have application to the study of White family medical historians, but not Black or Mexican American historians, perhaps because of differences in family structure, salience of T2DM, and/or gender roles.

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