241314 Health literacy, genetic literacy and attitudes toward genetics

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Susanne Haga, PhD , Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC
William Barry, PhD , Biostat & Bioinformatics, Duke University, Durham, NC
Geoffrey Ginsburg, MD, PhD , Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC
Rachel Mills, MS , Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC
Jennifer Sullivan, MS , Pediatrics-Medical Genetics, Duke University, Durham, NC
Laura Svetkey, MD , Medicine-Nephrology, Duke University, Durham, NC
Huntington Willard, PhD , Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, Durham, OK
We are conducting a clinical study to assess the impact of health and genetic literacy on risk comprehension, risk perceptions, and health behavior of individual genomic risk information for Type 2 diabetes mellitus. A total of 263 individuals were randomly recruited from the general public: 62% self-identified as White, 26% as African-American, 72% female, and 67% have a college degree or higher. At baseline, we assessed health literacy, genetic literacy, and perceptions and attitudes about genetic testing. All but one participant was rated as having ‘adequate functional health literacy' (S-TOFHLA). Significant differences in overall health literacy were observed among racial groups (4 df; p< 0.0001) and education level (6 df; p = 0.0009). Scores of factual knowledge of genetics ranged from 50% to 100% (average =84%). Differences in genetic literacy were observed among racial groups (4 df; p = 0.0011), education (6 df; p= 0.0005) and age (4 df; p=0.004). Health literacy was positively correlated with genetic literacy (Spearman rank r= 0.16, p < 0.01). More than 75% strongly or somewhat agreed with the goals of genetics research and uses of genetic testing. However, attitudes were mixed regarding the consequences of testing; for example, 87% participants indicated that genetic testing does not scare them, 52% worried about the consequences of testing to obtain health insurance. In summary, a random population sample has a high genetic literacy and positive attitudes about genetic research and testing, although their interest in genetic testing may be limited by some concerns.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
To describe assess health and genetic literacy in a population enrolled in a genetic study. To discuss the relationship between health and genetic literacy of participants enrolled in a genetic study

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of the project for which the data are presented in the submitted abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.