Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Deborah L. Cragun, Ph.D., M.S., C.G.C.

Committee Member

Ryan T. Cragun, Ph.D., M.A.

Committee Member

Melissa Racobaldo, M.S., C.G.C.


Attitudes, Behavioral intention, DTC testing, effect of DTC results


Background: In 2013, 36% of the U.S. public was aware of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) genetic tests, but updated studies are needed to identify whether this has changed over time. Objective: The aims are to determine current awareness and utilization of DTC tests and to identify demographic factors that influence testing uptake. Methods: An online panel survey of 543 U.S. adults was conducted using age- and sex-based quotas. Descriptive statistics and binary regression identified factors associated with undergoing DTC testing and linear regression was conducted to identify factors associated with likelihood of using DTC testing for athletic ability to change behavior related to athletics. Results: 84% of participants were aware of DTC tests, but only 12% used them. For those who did, 63.2% conducted their own Internet investigation of the results while 13.2% spoke with a medical professional and 4.4% met with a genetic counselor. Identifying as politically liberal was significantly associated with testing after controlling for awareness of genetic counselors, sex, income, race, years of education, age, and science knowledge scores yet all variables explained only a small amount of variation (R2 = 0.047). Positive attitudes towards DTC testing for athletic ability along with male gender, younger age, and lower science knowledge scores were statistically associated with how likely they would be to use such results to change their behavior (R2 = 0.45). Conclusions: Awareness of DTC genetic tests have continued to increase but completion rates remain low. Most who had DTC genetic testing do not speak to experts though many seek additional information online. Sociodemographic factors do not explain DTC testing uptake but positive attitudes about testing substantially increase the likelihood that results would change behavior.

Included in

Genetics Commons