Barriers to the use of genetic testing: a study of racial and ethnic disparities

Genet Med. 2009 Sep;11(9):655-62. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e3181ab22aa.


Purpose: Racial and ethnic disparities in health are evident among a range of diseases and health care services. New genetic technologies are likely to increase these disparities as access to expensive genetic tests further widens the gap.

Methods: Our analysis used data from a national representative sample collected in 2000. The total sample size for our analysis was 1724 men and women (consisting of 946 non-Hispanic whites, 392 Latinos, and 386 blacks) aged 18 to 91 years. Ordered logistic regression and binary logistic regression analysis were applied to investigate differences by race/ethnicity.

Results: Results showed significant differences by racial/ethnic groups in knowledge and concerns about the potential misuse of genetic testing. A significant difference was also found between the types of health insurance coverage by race/ethnicity as well as significantly higher levels of mistrust in a physician and the medical system.

Conclusion: Our findings raise concern about several barriers among minorities and calls for a development of educational and communication strategies that facilitate in narrowing the gap between racial and ethnic groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Black People / education
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing / economics*
  • Genetic Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Hispanic or Latino / education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • United States
  • White People / education
  • Young Adult