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Saudi Med J. 2008 Nov;29(11):1649-53.

Knowledge regarding the national premarital screening program among university students in western Saudi Arabia.

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  • 1Princess Jawhara Research Center for Hereditary Disorders, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 11166, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



To explore the knowledge of university students in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia, regarding the national premarital screening (PMS) program.


A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to a sample of 800 students at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the first semester of the academic year 2005--2006. This included questions regarding socio-demographic data, personal history of hereditary disease, or premarital screening, knowledge on hereditary diseases, and on the national PMS program. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 13. A p-value less than 0.05 was considered significant.


Eighty-five percent of the students believed that gene mutations may lead to hereditary disorders, and 84% of the respondents believed that consanguinity can increase the risk for genetic diseases. Fifty-six percent were aware that hereditary disease could affect any body system. Less than one-third of the students knew which disorders are tested for by the PMS, and 54% of the students thought that PMS detects all hereditary diseases. Only 35% knew what a non-compatible test result meant, while 59% believed that a compatible result meant freedom from all hereditary diseases.


Most of the students at KAU have good general knowledge concerning hereditary diseases, but had inadequate knowledge in relation to the national PMS program. The majority did not know which diseases were tested for, and what the test result meant. Public education regarding the disorders tested for, and the implication of screening is essential for the success of the premarital program.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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