Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1093–1115 | Cite as

Should I Perform Genetic Testing? A Qualitative Look into the Decision Making Considerations of Religious Israeli Undergraduate Students

  • Merav Siani
  • Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf
Original Research


The aim of this study is to draw a picture of the concerns that guide the decision making of Israeli religious undergraduate students and the complex considerations they take into account while facing the need to have genetic testing or to attend a genetic counseling session. We examined how the religious affiliation of the students influences their perceptions toward genetics and how these are expressed. Qualitative data were collected from 51 semi-structured interviews with students, in which recurring themes were identified using ‘thematic analysis.’ The codes from the thematic analysis were obtained according to ‘grounded theory’. Our results show that religious undergraduate students’ decision making in these issues is influenced by factors that fall under three main categories: knowledge and perceptions, values, and norms. In order to include all the components of influence, we created the Triple C model: “Culture influences Choices towards genetic Counseling” which aims to generalize the complex decision making considerations that we detected. Our model places religion, as part of culture, as its central point of influence that impacts all three of the main categories we detected. It also traces the bidirectional influences that each of these main categories have on one another. Using this model may help identify the sociocultural differences between different types of patients, helping genetic counselors to better assist them in addressing their genetic status by tailoring the counseling more specifically to the patient’s cultural uniqueness.


Genetic testing Decision making Semi-structured interviews Qualitative analysis Religion Norms Values Genetic knowledge Genetic perceptions 



We express our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Zohar Snapir for her helpful aid in the interviews. We would also like to thank the interviewees who were willing to spend their time for this research. Finally, we thank Thom Rofe for her linguistic assistance and her excellent suggestions on this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding for this research.

Conflict of Interest

Merav Siani and Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study

Animal Studies

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science and Technology Education DepartmentBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

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