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Public Health Genomics. 2010;13(3):131-42. doi: 10.1159/000231722. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

Socioeconomic influences on the effects of a genetic testing direct-to-consumer marketing campaign.

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Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Mass., USA.


Direct-to-consumer marketing of genetic tests is beginning to appear in select markets, and little independent evaluation has been conducted on the effects of this marketing on consumer attitudes or behavior. The purpose of this paper is to identify the effects of socioeconomic status on women's reactions to such a campaign, including knowledge of the test, perceptions of personal risk, communications with others about the test, and interest in pursuing the test. The only United States provider of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility (BRCA1/2 testing) conducted a pilot marketing campaign that targeted women aged 25-54 and their health care providers in 2 cities, Atlanta, Ga., and Denver, Colo. The design for the evaluation was a post campaign consumer survey, based on a cross-sectional stratified random sample of women in the 2 intervention sites and 2 comparison sites. The campaign had no differential impact by socioeconomic status. However, there was a consistent relationship between socioeconomic status and several outcome variables, including knowledge of the test, beliefs about the test, and desire to know about genetic risk. These data indicate that socioeconomic status may play a role in uptake of genetic services, regardless of response to a media campaign.

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