Expectations of results from genome sequencing by end users are influenced by perceptions of uncertainty. This study aimed to assess uncertainties about sequencing by developing, evaluating, and implementing a novel scale. The Perceptions of Uncertainties in Genome Sequencing (PUGS) scale comprised ten items to assess uncertainties within three domains: clinical, affective, and evaluative. Participants (n=535) from the ClinSeq® NIH sequencing study completed a baseline survey that included the PUGS; responses (mean = 3.4/5, SD=0.58) suggested modest perceptions of certainty. A confirmatory factor analysis identified factor loadings that led to elimination of two items. A revised eight-item PUGS scale was used to test correlations with perceived ambiguity (r = -0.303, p < 0.001), attitudinal ambivalence (r = -0.111, p = 0.011), and ambiguity aversion (r = -0.093, p = 0.033). Results support nomological validity. A correlation with the MICRA uncertainty subscale was found among 175 cohort participants who had received results (r = -0.335, p < 0.001). Convergent and discriminant validity were also satisfied in a second sample of 208 parents from the HudsonAlpha CSER Project who completed the PUGS (mean = 3.4/5, SD = 0.72), and configural invariance was supported across the two datasets. As such, the PUGS is a promising scale for evaluating perceived uncertainties in genome sequencing, which can inform interventions to help patients form realistic expectations of these uncertainties.
Keywords: PUGS scale; genome sequencing; perceptions of uncertainty; practical uncertainties.
Published 2016. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.