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Risk Anal. 2000 Apr;20(2):195-203.

The influence of trust and perceptions of risks and benefits on the acceptance of gene technology.

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Western Institute for Social and Organizational Research, Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, Bellingham 98225-9089, USA.


A causal model explaining acceptance of gene technology was tested. It was hypothesized that trust in institutions using gene technology or using modified products has a positive impact on perceived benefit and a negative influence on perceived risk of this technology. Furthermore, perceived benefit and perceived risk determine acceptance of biotechnology. In other words, trust has an indirect influence on the acceptance of the technology. The postulated model was tested using structural equation modeling procedures and data from a random quota sample of 1001 Swiss citizens between 18 and 74 years old. Results indicated that the proposed model fits the data very well. The same causal model explains females' and males' acceptance of gene technology. Gender differences were found for the latent variables trust, perceived benefit, and acceptance of gene technology. Females indicated more trust, perceived less benefit, and demonstrated less acceptance than did males. No significant difference was observed for perceived risk. The implications of the results are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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