Perceptions of genetic counseling services in direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing

Clin Genet. 2013 Oct;84(4):335-9. doi: 10.1111/cge.12166. Epub 2013 May 13.


To describe consumers' perceptions of genetic counseling services in the context of direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing is the purpose of this research. Utilizing data from the Scripps Genomic Health Initiative, we assessed direct-to-consumer genomic test consumers' utilization and perceptions of genetic counseling services. At long-term follow-up, approximately 14 months post-testing, participants were asked to respond to several items gauging their interactions, if any, with a Navigenics genetic counselor, and their perceptions of those interactions. Out of 1325 individuals who completed long-term follow-up, 187 (14.1%) indicated that they had spoken with a genetic counselor. The most commonly given reason for not utilizing the counseling service was a lack of need due to the perception of already understanding one's results (55.6%). The most common reasons for utilizing the service included wanting to take advantage of a free service (43.9%) and wanting more information on risk calculations (42.2%). Among those who utilized the service, a large fraction reported that counseling improved their understanding of their results (54.5%) and genetics in general (43.9%). A relatively small proportion of participants utilized genetic counseling after direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing. Among those individuals who did utilize the service, however, a large fraction perceived it to be informative, and thus presumably beneficial.

Keywords: direct-to-consumer; disclosure of genetic results; genetic counseling; genomic education; genomics; outcomes; personal genomic testing; personalized medicine; utilization.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Genetic Services*
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Genomics
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Perception*
  • Young Adult