Racial and ethnic variations in knowledge and attitudes about genetic testing

Genet Test. Spring 2004;8(1):31-43. doi: 10.1089/109065704323016012.


This study was designed to shed light on whether differences in utilization of genetic testing by African-Americans, Latinos, and non-Hispanic Whites are due primarily to different preferences, or whether they instead reflect other values and beliefs or differential access. It explores the values, attitudes, and beliefs of African-Americans, Latinos, and non-Hispanic Whites with respect to genetic testing by means of a telephone survey of representative samples of these three groups. The study finds clear evidence that Latinos and African-Americans are, if anything, more likely to express preferences for both prenatal and adult genetic testing than White respondents. At the same time, they hold other beliefs and attitudes that may conflict with, and override, these preferences in specific situations. African-Americans and Latinos are also less knowledgeable about genetic testing than non-Hispanic Whites, and they are less likely to have the financial resources or insurance coverage that would facilitate access to testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology*
  • Genetic Privacy / psychology
  • Genetic Testing / economics
  • Genetic Testing / psychology*
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / psychology*