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West J Nurs Res. 2010 Aug;32(5):610-27. doi: 10.1177/0193945909360781.

Cool, but is it credible? Adolescents' and parents' approaches to genetic testing.

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University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA.


Advances in genomic science create both opportunities and challenges for future generations. Both adolescents and adults may benefit or be harmed by decisions they make in response to this new science. Using a qualitative descriptive design, the authors interviewed 22 adolescents (11 who were aged 14-17 years and 11 who were 18-21 years) and 11 parents to determine levels of knowledge and approaches to decision making. It was found that younger adolescents and their parents have very limited knowledge about genetics and genetic testing. Older adolescents have more complete information and consider a broader range of points in making decisions about hypothetical situations involving genetic testing. Adolescents and parents need much more information to enhance their ability to make decisions about using genetic services. These findings have implications for developing interventions and public health policy highlighted by the need for improved education about the benefits and harms of genetic testing.

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