The impact of genetic testing for Crohn's disease, risk magnitude and graphical format on motivation to stop smoking: an experimental analogue study

Clin Genet. 2008 Apr;73(4):306-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2008.00964.x. Epub 2008 Feb 5.


Genetic tests may motivate risk-reducing behaviour more than other types of tests because they generate higher risk magnitudes and because their results have high personal relevance. To date, trial designs have not allowed the disentangling of the effects of these two factors. This analogue study examines the independent impacts of risk magnitude and provenance, and of risk display type, on motivation to quit smoking. A total of 180 smokers were randomly allocated to one of the 18 Crohn's disease risk vignettes in a 3 (risk provenance: family history. genetic test mutation positive. genetic test mutation negative) x 3 (risk magnitude: 3%, 6%, 50%) x 2 (display: grouped or dispersed icons) design. The 50% group had significantly higher intentions to quit than the 3% group. A significant risk provenance x magnitude interaction showed that participants in 50% or 6% groups were equally motivated, regardless of risk provenance, while participants in the 3% group had higher intentions associated with a mutation negative result than with a result based on family history alone. Grouped icon displays were more motivating than the dispersed icons. Using genetic tests to estimate risks of common complex conditions may not motivate behaviour change beyond the impact of the numerical risk estimates derived from such tests.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crohn Disease / genetics*
  • Data Display
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology*
  • Genetic Testing / psychology
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Nod2 Signaling Adaptor Protein / genetics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smoking Cessation*


  • NOD2 protein, human
  • Nod2 Signaling Adaptor Protein