Impact of genetic testing on causal models of heart disease and arthritis: An analogue study

Psychol Health. 2000 Nov;14(6):1077-88. doi: 10.1080/08870440008407368.


Abstract An analogue study investigated the impact of genetic testing on perceptions of disease. Using a 2 × 2 design, participants (n = 212) imagined receiving the information that they were at increased risk for either heart disease or arthritis. The type of risk information was either genetic or unspecified. Presentation of genetic risk information resulted in the condition being perceived as less preventable. Causal models of disease where investigated using principal components analysis. When hem disease was the stimulus condition, attributions to genes and chance were positively associated following unspecified risk information, and negatively associated following genetic risk information. When arthritis was the stimulus condition, presentation of genetic risk information was associated with attributions to genes becoming separated from the other attributions. One explanation for this is that providing genetic risk information may decrease perceptions of a sense of randomness or uncertainty in disease causation. The extent to which these effects occur in clinical populations. and their behavioural consequences. needs to be established.