American Journal of Public Health Research
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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2015, 3(3), 81-90
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-3-3-1
Open AccessArticle

University Students' Attitudes towards Genetic Testing: A Comparative Study

Merav Siani1, and Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf1

1Science and Technology Education Department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er-Sheva8410501, Israel

Pub. Date: April 01, 2015

Cite this paper:
Merav Siani and Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf. University Students' Attitudes towards Genetic Testing: A Comparative Study. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2015; 3(3):81-90. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-3-3-1

Abstract

Background: Genetic counseling has become a tool for preventing genetic diseases in western society. It deals with the risk of genetic diseases in families and finds ways to prevent future problems. The public’s decision making regarding genetic counseling is influenced by cognitive, cultural and religious variables. Aim and objectives: To examine the attitudes of undergraduate Israeli students toward genetic issues and learn how these are affected by the field they study, their religious affiliation and their gender. Methods: We gave 490 students a Likert type quantitative questionnaire consisting of several genetic cases, and asked the students to express their attitudes towards each one. Results and conclusion: Of the three factors we assessed, the most influential is the students’ religious affiliation. Religious students, especially those who do not study life sciences (LS), place less trust in genetic tests than secular students (p=0.0001). Students of LS show more critical thinking towards genetic testing than others (p=0.0128). Gender was least influential, showing a mixed trend of influence. The results of this research can serve as a basis for developing culturally sensitive educational programs in genetics.

Keywords:
genetic counseling attitudes quantitative assessment genetic testing undergraduate students

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