Perceived disadvantages and concerns about abuses of genetic testing for cancer risk: differences across African American, Latina and Caucasian women

Patient Educ Couns. 2003 Nov;51(3):217-27. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(02)00219-7.


Participation in genetic testing for cancer risk is low among women of medically underserved ethnic groups and this is due, in part, to genetic testing attitudes, specifically perceived disadvantages of genetic testing and concerns about possible abuses of genetic testing. The goals of the current study were to: (a) explore genetic testing attitudes, and (b) determine the extent to which ethnicity, awareness of genetic testing, and medical mistrust are associated with genetic testing attitudes. African American, Latina, and Caucasian women (N=273) completed an interview assessing sociodemographic information, genetic testing awareness, medical mistrust, and genetic testing attitudes. Latina participants more strongly agreed with disadvantages of testing than the other ethnic groups. Both Latina and African American women more strongly concurred with concerns about testing abuses compared to Caucasian women. In hierarchical linear regression analyses, Spanish language preference and medical mistrust were the only significant predictors of perceived disadvantages and medical mistrust was the only significant predictor of abuse concerns. These findings support the importance of identifying genetic testing attitudes that may be culturally specific in order to promote culturally competent care by genetic risk professionals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / ethnology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genetic Testing / standards*
  • Hispanic Americans / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • New York City
  • Risk Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust
  • Women / education
  • Women / psychology*