In 2004, a sample of older adult patients from four inner-city health centers was surveyed to assess beliefs about genetic determinants of disease, genetic testing and religion. Logistic regression determined which beliefs were associated with race.
African Americans and Caucasians differ in beliefs about genetic testing and the basis for moral decision-making. Acknowledging and understanding these differences may lead to better medical care.
Genetic testing has the potential to identify persons at high risk for disease. Given the history of racial disparities in screening, early detection and accessing treatment, understanding racial differences in beliefs about genetics is essential to preventing disparities in some conditions.
Of the 314 respondents, 50% were African Americans. Most respondents thought that sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and diabetes are primarily genetic. African Americans were more likely than Caucasians to believe that genetic testing will lead to racial discrimination (Odds ratio (OR): 3.02, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5-6.0) and to think that all pregnant women should have genetic tests (OR=3.8, 95% CI: 1.7-8.6). African Americans were more likely to believe that God's Word is the most important source for moral decisions (OR: 3.6, 95% CI :1.5-8.7).
Zimmerman RK, Tabbarah M, Nowalk MP, Raymund M, Jewell IK, Wilson SA, Ricci EM. (2006). Racial differences in beliefs about genetic screening among patients at inner-city neighborhood health centers. Journal of the National Medical Association, 98(3)