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Clin Genet. 2015 Feb;87(2):117-23. doi: 10.1111/cge.12403. Epub 2014 May 20.

The impact of multiplex genetic testing on disease risk perceptions.

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  • 1School of Psychological Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


This study assessed the effects of multiplex genetic testing on disease risk perceptions among 216 healthy adults. Participants, aged 25-40, were recruited through the Multiplex Initiative, which offered a genetic susceptibility test for eight common diseases. Participants completed baseline telephone and web-based surveys prior to making the testing decision. Three months after the receipt of mailed test results, participants completed a follow-up telephone survey. Risk perceptions for the eight diseases were measured at baseline and follow-up, along with beliefs about genetic causation of those diseases. The main results were: (i) mean risk perceptions were considerably stable from baseline to follow-up; (ii) the best predictors of follow-up risk perceptions were the corresponding baseline perceptions and family history; and (iii) within-individuals, most participants increased or decreased their risk perceptions for specific diseases in concordance with the number of risk markers they carry, their family history and their beliefs about genetic causality of diseases. In conclusion, participants presented a vigilant approach to the interpretation of genetic test results, which provides reassurance with regard to a potential inflation of risk perceptions in the population because of multiplex genetic testing.

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


family history; genetic testing; multiplex; risk perception

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