Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 799–807 | Cite as

Public Awareness of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests: Findings from the 2013 U.S. Health Information National Trends Survey

  • Tanya Agurs-CollinsEmail author
  • Rebecca Ferrer
  • Allison Ottenbacher
  • Erika A. Waters
  • Mary E. O’Connell
  • Jada G. Hamilton


Although the availability of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing has increased in recent years, the general public’s awareness of this testing is not well understood. This study examined levels of public awareness of DTC genetic testing, sources of information about testing, and psychosocial factors associated with awareness of testing in the USA. Data were obtained from the nationally representative 2013 U.S. Health Information National Trends Survey. Guided by a social-cognitive conceptual framework, univariable and multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to identify factors associated with awareness of DTC genetic tests. Of 3185 participants, 35.6 % were aware of DTC genetic tests, with the majority learning about these tests through radio, television, and the Internet. In the final adjusted model, participants with annual incomes of $99,999 or less had lower odds of being aware of DTC genetic testing (ORs ranging from 0.46–0.61) than did those participants with incomes of $100,000 or more. The odds of awareness of DTC genetic tests were significantly higher for those who actively seek cancer information (OR = 1.91, 95 % CI = 1.36–2.69), use the Internet (OR = 1.81, 95 % CI = 1.05–3.13), and have high numeracy skills (OR = 1.67, 95 % CI = 1.17–2.38). It will be critical for healthcare researchers and practitioners to understand predictors and consequences of the public’s awareness of DTC genetic tests, as well as how such awareness may translate into DTC genetic testing uptake, health behavior change, and ultimately disease prevention.


HINTS Direct-to-consumer genetic testing Behavioral research Psychosocial 


Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interests or financial interests to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya Agurs-Collins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca Ferrer
    • 1
  • Allison Ottenbacher
    • 2
  • Erika A. Waters
    • 3
  • Mary E. O’Connell
    • 1
  • Jada G. Hamilton
    • 4
  1. 1.Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthU.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Dr. Susan Love Research FoundationSanta MonicaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Siteman Cancer CenterWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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