A preventive nursing intervention to reduce coronary heart disease (CHD) risk was tested. The sample was 19 families composed of 58 first-degreed relatives of young (age 30–55 years) victims of sudden cardiac death. Families were randomly assigned to control and experimental groups. The intervention at 3–5 months postdeath focused on assessment of health history, health behaviors, health beliefs, informing and educating about CHD risk factors, and methods for detecting and reducing these factors. The control group received mailed questionnaires and no intervention. The subjectapos;s reduction of CHD risk was measured at 7 months by changes in high risk CHD behaviors, changes in health beliefs, and adherence to screening for serum cholesterol and blood pressure determination. Analysis of covariance (covarying age and pretest scores) demonstrated no differences between groups for health beliefs; however, significant differences for health beliefs existed between the sibling subgroups. The intervention was correlated with a significant reduction in alcohol intake. Reductions in high fat meat consumption were in the desired direction. Greater percentages of subjects in the intervention group obtained blood pressure and cholesterol screening.