Attitudes Toward Psychiatric Genetic Testing and Research: A Comparative Study Between Denmark and Cuba

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2019 Dec;23(12):857-864. doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2019.0163. Epub 2019 Nov 12.


Introduction: Psychiatric genetic research has seen progress in identifying genetic risk variants associated with major mental disorders. Testing with preventive purposes is likely to be offered to high-risk individuals in the near future. It is important that genetic testing and counseling align with the interests of the patients, and these interests are likely to vary among countries and cultures. Aim: The present study aimed to compare the attitudes toward psychiatric genetic research and genetic testing in Denmark and Cuba. Materials and Methods: A survey, culturally adapted for each country, was administered to a pool of students, patients with depression, and the closest relatives of these patients. A total of 491 stakeholders from Denmark and 720 from Cuba were included in the study. Results: Significant differences between the two populations were found for general knowledge about psychiatric genetic research, whom to offer genetic testing, and to whom to entrust with psychiatric genetic information. Cuban stakeholders were more likely to feel uncomfortable about psychiatric genetic research than the Danish stakeholders. This difference might be driven by the characteristics of the health systems, sociocultural factors, and lower genetic literacy in the Cuban population. Conclusion: This study is the first to compare attitudes toward psychiatric genetic testing between a Latin American country and a Nordic country. The results reported could be valuable when designing general guidelines for psychiatric genetic testing in the future.

Keywords: bioethics; biological psychiatry; genetic research; genetic testing; mental disorders; preventive psychiatry.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude
  • Cuba
  • Denmark
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Genetic Privacy / ethics
  • Genetic Research
  • Genetic Testing / ethics*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires