Attitudes of physicians and genetics professionals toward cystic fibrosis carrier screening

R. R. Faden, E. S. Tambor, G. A. Chase, G. Geller, K. J. Hofman, N. A. Holtzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the identification of the cystic fibrosis (CF) gene and its major mutations in 1989, there has been considerable debate among health professionals as to whether population-based carrier testing should be instituted. This paper presents the results of a survey to determine the attitudes of physicians and genetics professionals toward CF carrier testing. Factors associated with differences in attitudes also were examined. A questionnaire was mailed to primary care physicians and psychiatrists in 10 states who graduated from medical school between 1950 and 1985. For comparison, medical geneticists and genetic counselors in the same states also received the questionnaire. A total of 1,140 primary care physicians and psychiatrists (64.8%) and 280 medical geneticists and genetic counselors (79.1%) responded. Although 92% of respondents believed that a couple should be tested after asking about a test that detected 80% of carriers, only 43.9% of respondents believed such a test should be offered routinely. Those specialists most likely to have been involved in genetic services were most opposed to routine screening. The most important reason reported for opposition to routine screening was the consequences of an 80% detection rate. When presented with a hypothetical 'error-free' test, 75.9% of respondents favored routine testing. Our findings suggest that there was little support for routinely offering the CF carrier test available at the time of this study among the physicians and professionals most involved in the provision of genetic services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of medical genetics
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

Keywords

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • carrier testing
  • physician attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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