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A Population-Based Survey in Australia of Men's and Women's Perceptions of Genetic Risk and Predictive Genetic Testing and Implications for Primary Care


Taylor, S, A Population-Based Survey in Australia of Men's and Women's Perceptions of Genetic Risk and Predictive Genetic Testing and Implications for Primary Care, Public Health Genomics, 14, (6) pp. 325-336. ISSN 1662-4246 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 S. Karger AG

DOI: doi:10.1159/000324706


Background: Community attitudes research regarding genetic issues is important when contemplating the potential value and utilisation of predictive testing for common diseases in mainstream health services. This article aims to report population-based attitudes and discuss their relevance to integrating genetic services in primary health contexts. Methods: Men’s and women’s attitudes were investigated via population-based omnibus telephone survey in Queensland, Australia. Randomly selected adults (n = 1,230) with a mean age of 48.8 years were interviewed regarding perceptions of genetic determinants of health; benefits of genetic testing that predict ‘certain’ versus ‘probable’ future illness; and concern, if any, regarding potential misuse of genetic test information. Results: Most (75%) respondents believed genetic factors significantly influenced health status; 85% regarded genetic testing positively although attitudes varied with age. Risk-based information was less valued than certainty-based information, but women valued risk information significantly more highly than men. Respondents reported ‘concern’ (44%) and ‘no concern’ (47%) regarding potential misuse of genetic information. Conclusions: This study contributes important population-based data as most research has involved selected individuals closely impacted by genetic disorders. While community attitudes were positive regarding genetic testing, genetic literacy is important to establish. The nature of gender differences regarding risk perception merits further study and has policy and service implications. Community concern about potential genetic discrimination must be addressed if health benefits of testing are to be maximised. Larger questions remain in scientific, policy, service delivery, and professional practice domains before predictive testing for common disorders is efficacious in mainstream health care.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia; Gender; Genetic Risk; Genetic Testing; Population Survey; Primary care
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology and social studies of science and technology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Taylor, S (Professor Sandy Taylor)
ID Code:76356
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2012-03-05
Last Modified:2012-06-28

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