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J Genet Couns. 2012 Jun;21(3):440-7. doi: 10.1007/s10897-011-9478-2. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

Racial and ethnic differences in direct-to-consumer genetic tests awareness in HINTS 2007: sociodemographic and numeracy correlates.

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Department of Health Behavior & Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


To examine the association of 1) race/ethnicity and 2) numeracy with awareness of DTC genetic tests. Secondary analysis of 6,754 Hispanic, black, and white adult respondents to the National Cancer Institute's 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Logistic regression was used to examine sociodemographic predictors of DTC genetic tests awareness including race/ethnicity, income, education, and gender. Next, two numeracy variables were added to the model. After controlling for sociodemographic variables, black respondents were significantly less likely to have heard of DTC genetic tests compared to white respondents (OR = 0.79; CI: 0.65-0.97). When numeracy variables were added to the model, the effect of black race was no longer significant (OR = 0.84; CI: 0.69-1.04). Hispanic respondents did not significantly differ from white respondents in awareness of DTC genetic tests. Other significant correlates of DTC genetic tests awareness in the full model included education, income, age, and numeracy variables including degree to which people use medical statistics and numbers to make health decisions, and preference for words or numbers when discussing "the chance of something happening." Although black respondents were generally less aware of DTC genetic tests than white respondents, this relationship appears to be partially mediated by numeracy.

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