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J Genet Couns. 2012 Jun;21(3):448-61. doi: 10.1007/s10897-011-9477-3. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

Perception of direct-to-consumer genetic testing and direct-to-consumer advertising of genetic tests among members of a large managed care organization.

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Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, CO 80237-8066, USA.


This small qualitative study was designed to determine possible attitudes toward and understanding of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing among members of a large managed care organization, and whether differences might exist between population groups. Ten focus groups were conducted by population type (high risk, White, African American, Hispanic/Latino) to determine knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about DTC genetics. Focus group transcripts were coded for attitudes toward and framing of the issue. Study results found participants were negative towards DTC genetic testing but they also found some aspects useful. Participants framed the issue mainly in terms of disease prevention and uncertainty of reaction to results, with some variation between population types. The concept of an "Informed Consumer," or process to seek information when the issue becomes personally relevant, emerged. This concept suggests that individuals may seek additional assistance to make personally-appropriate choices when faced with a DTC advertisement or genetic test.

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