Attitudes towards genetic testing: The role of genetic literacy, motivated cognition, and socio-demographic characteristics

Likhanov, Maxim; Zakharov, Ilya; Awofala, Adeyemi; Ogundele, Olusegun; Selita, Fatos; Kovas, Yulia and Chapman, Robert. 2023. Attitudes towards genetic testing: The role of genetic literacy, motivated cognition, and socio-demographic characteristics. PLoS ONE, 18(11), e0293187. ISSN 1932-6203 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Understanding reasons for why people choose to have or not to have a genetic test is essen tial given the ever-increasing use of genetic technologies in everyday life. The present study explored the multiple drivers of people’s attitudes towards genetic testing. Using the Interna tional Genetic Literacy and Attitudes Survey (iGLAS), we collected data on: (1) willingness to undergo testing; (2) genetic literacy; (3) motivated cognition; and (4) demographic and cultural characteristics. The 37 variables were explored in the largest to-date sample of 4311 participants from diverse demographic and cultural backgrounds. The results showed that 82% of participants were willing to undergo genetic testing for improved treatment; and over 73%—for research. The 35 predictor variables together explained only a small propor tion of variance: 7%—in the willingness to test for Treatment; and 6%—for Research. The strongest predictors of willingness to undergo genetic testing were genetic knowledge and deterministic beliefs. Concerns about data misuse and about finding out unwanted health related information were weakly negatively associated with willingness to undergo genetic testing. We also found some differences in factors linked to attitudes towards genetic testing across the countries included in this study. Our study demonstrates that decision-making regarding genetic testing is influenced by a large number of potentially interacting factors. Further research into these factors may help consumers to make decisions regarding genetic testing that are right for their specific circumstances.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI): pone.0293187

Data Access Statement:

The script used for analyses is available on osf ( (DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/NEX76).

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26 September 2023Accepted
15 November 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Nov 2023 12:35

Last Modified:

30 Nov 2023 12:35

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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