Perceptions and Attitudes about HFE Genotyping Among College-Age Adults
Journal of Genetic Counseling
(Published online: 30 December 2005)
Bret L. Hicken (1, 2) , Aimee Foshee (1) and Diane C. Tucker (1)
(1) Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA
(2) GRECC (182), Salt Lake City VAMC, 500 Foothill Dr, Salt Lake City, UT, 84148
Purpose: Examine young adults' attitudes about HFE genotyping.
Methods: 121 college students read about hemochromatosis, transferrin saturation measurement (iron test), and HFE genotyping. Interest in testing and knowledge and attitudes about genetic testing were assessed. Participants were randomly assigned to predict either their response to a positive HFE genotype (genotype group) or a positive iron test (phenotype group).
Results: 71% preferred the iron test, but most would undergo either test. Learning risk and early detection/prevention were the most commonly perceived benefits; limited information about health and negative emotional consequences were the most commonly perceived disadvantages. The genotype and phenotype groups did not differ in expected worry, perceived severity, perceived risk, and preventability of organ damage. After reading the description provided, participants answered 78% of knowledge questions correctly.
Conclusions: Young adults view HFE genotyping positively and report few disadvantages, but prefer the iron test for its information about current health. They appear to be receptive to public health screening for hemochromatosis.
Bret L. Hicken
(C) Journal of Genetic Counseling
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