Interpretation of genetic risk feedback among African American smokers with low socioeconomic status

Health Psychol. 2004 Mar;23(2):178-88. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.23.2.178.


The authors report on factors related to interpretation of feedback on genetic susceptibility to lung cancer among 371 African American smokers receiving care in a community health clinic, with a focus on whether smokers were interpreting feedback consistent with a defensive processing or an accuracy orientation. Smokers were given feedback on the absence (indicating increased risk) or presence (indicating average risk) of the gene for the mu isoform of glutathione S-transferase. Smokers who were told they were at higher risk were more likely to inaccurately recall the result than those deemed at average risk. Smokers who inaccurately recalled the result, regardless of risk status, were most likely to misinterpret the meaning of the result. Perceived lung cancer risks and worries were not associated with comprehension of the test result. The authors suggest additional research is needed to develop more effective strategies for communicating genetic risk feedback to motivate smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Biomarkers
  • Feedback*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1