Knowledge and attitudes regarding expanded genetic carrier screening among women’s healthcare providers

Capsule:
A survey of professional meeting attendees demonstrates good knowledge and positive attitudes about genetic disorders and expanded genetic screening. Future education is needed to address specific educational deficiencies and misperceptions.

Authors:
Kaylene Ready, M.S., Imran S. Haque, Ph.D., Balaji S. Srinivasan, Ph.D., John R. Marshall, M.D.
Volume 97, Issue 2 , Pages 407-413, February 2012

Objective:
To determine women’s healthcare providers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding genetic disorders and expanded genetic screening.

Design:
Survey of American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2010 and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2011 Annual Meeting attendees. The survey included 60 items (12 demographic, 10 knowledge, and 38 attitude). Attitudes were assessed with a 5-point Likert scale. Chi-square or t tests determined significance.

Setting:
American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2010 and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2011 Annual Meeting.

Patient(s):
A total of 203 participants completed the survey. Of these, 48% were male, 61% were physicians, 73% were Caucasian, and 42% were aged 35–50 years.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
None.

Result(s):
Physicians had better knowledge scores than other participants (87% vs. 79%). Knowledge was not influenced by prior personal/family experience with genetic screening. Fewer correct answers were observed for the probability of a positive test (65.2%), the risk of transmitting a gene mutation (62.2%), and the risk of having an affected child (56.2%). Very few participants (18.3%) disagreed with the notion of carrier screening as socially responsible behavior. Some had concerns about test result confidentiality (40.1%) and resulting insurance rate increases (37.0%). Assuming equal costs, most participants preferred to be tested for a larger number of diseases (77.7%) and believed posttest counseling to be helpful (83.7%).

Conclusion(s):
Women’s healthcare providers generally had good knowledge and positive attitudes about genetic disorders and expanded genetic screening. Specific misperceptions, both medical and legal, require education.

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