Racial and ethnic differences in knowledge and attitudes about genetic testing in the US: Systematic review.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Journal of Genetic Counseling, by JR Carnedo et. al.


Precision medicine has grown over the past 20 years with the availability of genetic tests and has changed the one-size-fits-all paradigm in medicine. Precision medicine innovations, such as newly available genetic tests, could potentially widen racial and ethnic disparities if access to them is unequal and if interest to use them differs across groups. The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize existing evidence on racial and ethnic differences in knowledge of and attitudes toward genetic testing among adult patients and the general public in the US, focusing on research about the use of genetic testing in general, not disease-specific tests. Twelve articles published in 1997-2017 met inclusion and exclusion criteria, with 10 including knowledge variables and seven including attitude variables. Studies found consistent patterns of lower awareness of genetic testing in general among non-Whites compared to Whites, lower factual knowledge scores among Blacks and Hispanics/Latinos, and mixed findings of differences in awareness of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing or the term precision medicine. Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, and non-Whites generally had more concerns about genetic testing than Whites. The findings suggest that patients and the general public need access to culturally appropriate educational material about the use of genetic testing in precision medicine.

© 2019 National Society of Genetic Counselors.