Author(s): Henneman L, Timmermans DR, Van Der Wal G
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Abstract The aim of this study was to assess public attitudes toward the availability and use of genetic tests to explore support for genomics developments and to help improve public discussion. Questionnaires to assess the assumed advantages and disadvantages of genetic testing were sent to a representative sample of the Dutch population (n = 1,308; age > or =25 years). The response was 63\% (817/1,308). Two groups with extreme scores on a four-item scale were distinguished, representing opponents (n = 248) and supporters (n = 264) of the availability and use of genetic tests. Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that those who were familiar with a genetic disease (odds ratio [OR] 0.54; 95\% confidence interval [CI] 0.32-0.89; p = 0.015), those who scored higher on a four-item scale on belief in personal benefits of testing (OR 0.29; 95\% CI 0.21-0.40; p < 0.0001), and those who believe that knowledge of the genetic background of disease will help people to live more healthy lives (OR 0.48; 95\% CI 0.37-0.62; p < 0.0001), were less likely to be opponents. Those who agreed that genetic testing is tampering with nature (OR 1.63; 95\% CI 1.32-2.00; p < 0.0001) were more likely to be opponents. Other variables such as belief in genetic determinism, genetic knowledge, level of education, age, and gender were not significantly associated. These results suggest that in addition to moral acceptability, perceived usefulness is a precondition for supporting genetic testing. It is not expected that more information will necessarily result in more positive attitudes.
This article was published in Genet Test
and referenced in Biology and Medicine