Exploring dispositional tendencies to seek online information about direct-to-consumer genetic testing
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- Paquin, R.S., Richards, A.S., Koehly, L.M. et al. Behav. Med. Pract. Policy Res. (2012) 2: 392. doi:10.1007/s13142-012-0159-y
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Varying perspectives exist regarding the implications of genetic susceptibility testing for common disease, with some anticipating adverse effects and others expecting positive outcomes; however, little is known about the characteristics of people who are most likely to be interested in direct-to-consumer genetic testing. To that end, this study examines the association of individual dispositional differences with health risk perceptions and online information seeking related to a free genetic susceptibility test. Healthy adults enrolled in a large health maintenance organization were surveyed by telephone. Eligible participants (N = 1,959) were given access to a secure website that provided risk and benefit information about a genetic susceptibility test and given the option to be tested. Neuroticism was associated with increased perceptions of disease risk but not with logging on. Those scoring high in conscientiousness were more likely to log on. We found no evidence that neuroticism, a dispositional characteristic commonly linked to adverse emotional response, was predictive of online genetic information seeking in this sample of healthy adults.