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Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 299–304 | Cite as

Asking the Right Questions: Views on Genetic Variation Research Among Black and White Research Participants

  • Jada Bussey-Jones
  • Gail Henderson
  • Joanne Garrett
  • Mairead Moloney
  • Connie Blumenthal
  • Giselle Corbie-Smith
Original Article

Abstract

Background

Genetic variation research (GVR) may raise concerns about misuse of information and discrimination. Seemingly contradictory positive views about GVR have also been reported.

Objective

To dissect this inconsistency, our objectives were to: (1) explore open-ended views of GVR and (2) quantify views of and willingness to participate in GVR by race.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Participants

801 African-American and white prior participants in a case-control genetic epidemiology study of colon cancer risks (NCCCS).

Measures

Qualitative measures evaluated responses to questions about good and bad things about GVR. Quantitative measures evaluated positive and negative perceptions, perceptions of discrimination, and likelihood of future participation by race.

Results

Open-ended queries about GVR resulted in few “negative” responses. In closed-ended questions, however, African Americans were more likely to feel that such research would: result in higher insurance (41% vs. 30%, p = 0.008), not benefit minorities (29% vs. 14%, p=<0.001), reinforce racism (32% vs. 20%, p = 0.002), and use minorities as guinea pigs (27% vs. 6%, p < 0.001). Overall, after adjustment for potential confounding factors, African-American race remained inversely associated with feeling “very positive” about GVR (46% vs. 57%, p = 0.035). In contrast, African Americans were as likely as whites to express willingness to participate in future GVR studies (46%).

Conclusions

Open-ended questions about GVR were unlikely to spontaneously generate “negative” responses. In contrast, when presented specific examples of potentially negative implications, more respondents agreed, and minorities were more likely to express concerns. This suggests that while participants appear generally positive about GVR, their inability to articulate views regarding these complex concepts may require that researchers engage lay audiences, ensure accurate understanding, and provide them with language to express concerns.

KEY WORDS

genetic variation research discrimination response evaluation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the NIH-NHGRI grant 1-R01-HG002830. This project was also supported by grant no. P50HG004488 from the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jada Bussey-Jones
    • 1
  • Gail Henderson
    • 2
  • Joanne Garrett
    • 2
  • Mairead Moloney
    • 2
  • Connie Blumenthal
    • 2
  • Giselle Corbie-Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Emory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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