Online Program

Undergraduates' Attitudes and Perceptions towards Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Testing

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nicole Carr, Department of Biology, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Barbara Saltzman, PhD, MPH, School of Population Health, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
With completion of the Human Genome Project, Direct to Consumer (DTC) genetic testing is an increasingly available option for health risk testing and ancestry. Communication is critical because consumers need to be aware of what they are purchasing, and health care providers need to be aware of how and what consumers are hearing about testing. Furthermore, because of the social and ethical implications surrounding genomic testing, it is important to study public opinions and attitudes as a framework for public policy makers. This study utilized an online survey to examine the attitudes and perceptions of DTC genetic testing among 423 undergraduate students at a public University in Northwest Ohio.

The survey was split into four parts: general demographics, knowledge of human genetics, awareness of personal genome companies, and opinions regarding DTC personal genome testing. The study results showed how undergraduates hear about testing, and that undergraduates in the health sciences or engineering fields are more likely to have a better understanding of DTC genetic testing. Undergraduate students learn about DTC genetic testing most commonly through television and the internet (20.1%), that they were not confident interpreting their results alone (69.6%), and would prefer expert guidance to be included with the test results (82.0%). Healthcare providers need to be prepared for questions and to battle the misconceptions that result from information being shared on television and social media.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Public health biology

Learning Objectives:
Describe how undergraduate students hear about DTC genetic testing and reasons why they would or would not participate. Discuss attitudes of undergraduate students toward DTC testing and the ethical and regulatory measures identified by the respondents.

Keyword(s): Genetics, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author because I carried out this research in completion of my undergraduate honors thesis.
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.