Social networkers' attitudes toward direct-to-consumer personal genome testing

Am J Bioeth. 2009;9(6-7):3-10. doi: 10.1080/15265160902928209.


Purpose: This study explores social networkers' interest in and attitudes toward personal genome testing (PGT), focusing on expectations related to the clinical integration of PGT results.

Methods: An online survey of 1,087 social networking users was conducted to assess 1) use and interest in PGT; 2) attitudes toward PGT companies and test results; and 3) expectations for the clinical integration of PGT. Descriptive statistics were calculated to summarize respondents' characteristics and responses.

Results: Six percent of respondents have used PGT, 64% would consider using PGT, and 30% would not use PGT. Of those who would consider using PGT, 74% report they would use it to gain knowledge about disease in their family. 34% of all respondents consider the information obtained from PGT to be a medical diagnosis. 78% of those who would consider PGT would ask their physician for help interpreting test results, and 61% of all respondents believe physicians have a professional obligation to help individuals interpret PGT results.

Conclusion: Respondents express interest in using PGT services, primarily for purposes related to their medical care and expect physicians to help interpret PGT results. Physicians should therefore be prepared for patient demands for information and counsel on the basis of PGT results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information / ethics
  • Adult
  • Community Participation*
  • Consumer Health Information* / ethics
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing* / ethics
  • Genome, Human
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Marketing of Health Services / ethics
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physician's Role*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Private Sector / ethics
  • Private Sector / trends
  • Public Opinion*
  • Research Design
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult