Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 706–714 | Cite as

The effect of disease risk probability and disease type on interest in clinic-based versus direct-to-consumer genetic testing services

  • Kerry Sherman
  • Laura-Kate Shaw
  • Katrina Champion
  • Fernanda Caldeira
  • Margaret McCaskill


The effect of disease-specific cognitions on interest in clinic-based and direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing was assessed. Participants (N = 309) responded to an online hypothetical scenario and received genetic testing-related messages that varied by risk probability (25, 50, 75 %) and disease type (Alzheimer’s disease vs. Type 2 Diabetes). Post-manipulation interest increased for both testing types, but was greater for clinic-based testing. Interest was greater for Type 2 Diabetes than for Alzheimer’s disease, the latter perceived as more severe and likely, and less treatable and preventable. For DTC testing only, participants allocated to the high risk condition (75 %) had greater testing interest than those in the low (25 %) category. DTC testing is perceived as a viable, but less preferred, option compared with clinic-based testing. Particularly when considering DTC genetic testing, there is a need to emphasize subjective disease-related perceptions, including risk probability.


Direct-to-consumer Genetic testing Risk probability Perceived manageability Perceived severity 


Conflict of interest

Kerry Sherman, Laura-Kate Shaw, Katrina Champion, Fernanda Caldeira and Margaret McCaskill declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry Sherman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laura-Kate Shaw
    • 3
  • Katrina Champion
    • 4
  • Fernanda Caldeira
    • 5
  • Margaret McCaskill
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Emotional HealthMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Westmead Breast Cancer InstituteWestmead HospitalSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.National Drug and Alcohol Research CentreUniversity of NSWSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.University of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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