Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 314–324 | Cite as

Patients’ Attitudes Towards Disclosure of Genetic Test Results to Family Members: The Impact of Patients’ Sociodemographic Background and Counseling Experience

  • Roy GilbarEmail author
  • Stavit Shalev
  • Ronen Spiegel
  • Elon Pras
  • Michal Berkenstadt
  • Michal Sagi
  • Adi Ben-Yehuda
  • Pnina Mor
  • Shlomit Perry
  • Tzipora Falik Zaccai
  • Zvi Borochowitz
  • Sivia Barnoy
Original Research


Many factors predict the intention to disclose genetic information to relatives. The article examines the impact of patients’ socio-demographic factors on their intention to disclose genetic testing results to their relatives. Data were collected in eight genetic clinics in Israel. Patients were requested to fill in a questionnaire after counseling. A convenience sample of 564 participants who visited these clinics was collected for a response rate of 85 %. Of them, 282 participants came for susceptibility testing for hereditary cancers (cancer group), and 282 for genetic screening tests (prenatal group). In the cancer group, being secular and having more years of education correlated positively with the intention to disclose test results to relatives. In the prenatal group, being married and female correlated positively with the intention to disclose. In the cancer group, being religious and with less years of education correlated positively with the view that the clinician should deliver the results to the family. In the prenatal group, being male and unmarried correlated positively with this belief. In both groups, being of young age correlated with the perception that genetic information is private. Varied sociodemographic factors affect the intention to inform family members. Thus, knowing the social background of patients will shed light on people’s attitudes to genetic information and will help clinicians provide effective counseling in discussions with patients about the implications of test results for relatives.


Genetic information Disclosure Relatives Israel Family 



The study was funded by the Israel Cancer Association and the International Society of Nurses in Genetics.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Studies

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

Supplementary material

10897_2015_9873_MOESM1_ESM.doc (54 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOC 53 kb)


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Gilbar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stavit Shalev
    • 2
  • Ronen Spiegel
    • 3
  • Elon Pras
    • 4
  • Michal Berkenstadt
    • 4
  • Michal Sagi
    • 5
  • Adi Ben-Yehuda
    • 6
  • Pnina Mor
    • 6
  • Shlomit Perry
    • 7
  • Tzipora Falik Zaccai
    • 8
  • Zvi Borochowitz
    • 9
  • Sivia Barnoy
    • 10
  1. 1.School of LawNetanya Academic CollegeNetanyaIsrael
  2. 2.The Genetic InstituteEmek Medical CenterAfulaIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics AEmek Medical CenterAfulaIsrael
  4. 4.The Danek Gertner Institute of Human Genetics, Sheba Medical CenterRamat GanIsrael
  5. 5.Department of Human Genetics & Metabolic DiseasesHadassah University Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  6. 6.Medical Genetics Institute, Shaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  7. 7.Psycho-Oncology Unit, Davidoff CenterRabin Medical Center-Beilinson CampusPetah-TikvaIsrael
  8. 8.Institute of Human GeneticsWestern Galilee HospitalNahariaIsrael
  9. 9.The Simon Winter Institute for Human GeneticsBnai-Zion Medical CenterHaifaIsrael
  10. 10.Nursing Department, School of Health Professions, Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael

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