Title

Knowledge and attitudes of the Hartford inner city population regarding genetic testing

Date of Completion

January 2001

Keywords

Sociology, Theory and Methods|Health Sciences, General|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Sociology, Demography

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Background. Reports from the Human Genome Project and the attendant publicity indicating the mapping of 90% of the human genome, will accelerate the development and use of genetic testing services. This will improve medical practitioners' ability for earlier diagnosis, as well as predicting late onset diseases. These increased potentials of genetic testing as a reliable and more informative diagnostic tool underscores the evaluation of attitudes of the public towards genetic testing. ^ Objective. To determine knowledge and attitudes of Hartford inner city residents regarding genetic testing. ^ Design. Qualitative Descriptive ^ Setting. Health care facilities and community organizations from the five geographic regions of Hartford inner city. ^ Participants. 1442 Hartford inner city residents (>18 yrs old) were recruited from city wide data gathering sites to complete a newly developed survey measuring knowledge and attitudes towards genetic testing. ^ Results. SPSS statistical analyses proved that the survey was adaptable to the demographic characteristics of Hartford inner city population. The majority of respondents was supportive of genetic testing but refused selective pregnancy loss for genetically defective fetuses. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed no significant differences among Blacks, Whites or Hispanics in their support of genetic testing or in their disapproval of performing selective pregnancy loss procedures. Socio-economic status was not a meaningful predictor of attitudes toward selective pregnancy loss for Blacks and Whites, but the more highly educated Hispanics showed greater support for the procedure than their overall ethnic population. Persons who were diagnosed with genetic disorders were more likely to choose selective pregnancy loss than those who were not. NOVA did not indicate geographic location as a significant factor impacting attitudes toward genetic testing. ^ Conclusion. The general idea that Minorities show less interest in health care was not confirmed in the case of attitudes of Hartford inner city population (primarily Minorities) toward genetic testing. Hartford inner city residents are theoretically supportive of genetic testing, however, there is need for more interaction between medical personnel and residents to improve information dissemination on genetic testing, its availability, as well as advantages and concerns, in order to better prepare residents to utilize this inevitable diagnostic tool. ^