Interest of adolescents in genetic testing for nicotine addiction susceptibility

Prev Med. 2006 Jan;42(1):60-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2005.09.007. Epub 2005 Nov 2.


Objectives: Genetic tests for nicotine addiction susceptibility may someday offer preventive medicine specialists new tools to reduce smoking among adolescents. This paper examines adolescents' interest in, and reasons behind interest in, such testing and correlates of interest.

Methods: The sample included 211 healthy patients (ages 13-21) recruited from Georgetown University Medical Center's adolescent medicine clinic. Subjects completed a one-time behavioral survey immediately prior to or following a general medical check-up during calendar years 2001-2005. A 4-point self-report survey item served as the dependent variable.

Results: Sixty-two percent of adolescents were interested in genetic testing. Among the 72% of adolescents who provided a reason for their interest, 35% would find the information interesting for general or nonspecific reasons, 30% would find it personally useful, 8% noted it would be irrelevant, and 13% stated it would be unimportant; school performance and interest in cancer susceptibility testing were associated with interest in nicotine addiction susceptibility testing (adjusted r2 = 21%; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Adolescent primary care patients will likely be receptive to comprehensive tobacco control programs incorporating genetic testing. Higher levels of educational achievement and greater interest in DNA-based preventive medicine may characterize those most interested. Offering testing will be contingent upon the development of safe and effective genetic tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology*
  • Genetic Testing / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Public Opinion
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / genetics*