Testing a best practices risk result format to communicate genetic risks

Kyle W. Davis, Debra L. Roter, Tara Schmidlen, Laura B. Scheinfeldt, William M.P. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the effect of a genetic report format using risk communication “best-practices” on risk perceptions, in part to reduce risk overestimates. Methods: Adults (N = 470) from the Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative (CPMC) were randomized to a 2 × 2 experimental design to receive a hypothetical “personalized” genetic risk result for leukemia (relative risk = 1.5 or 2.5) through either the standard CPMC report (N = 232) or an enriched report informed by best practices (N = 238). A one-time, online survey assessed numeracy and risk perceptions including “feelings of risk” and a numerical estimate. Results: Regardless of numeracy, participants who received the enriched report had fewer overestimates of their lifetime risk estimate (LRE; odds ratio = 0.19, p < .001) and lower feelings of risk on two of three measures (p < .001). Participants with higher numeracy scores had fewer overestimates of LRE (OR = 0.66, p < .001) and lower feelings of risk on two out of three measures (p ≤. 01); the interaction between numeracy and report format was non-significant. Conclusion: The enriched report produced more accurate LRE and lower risk perceptions regardless of numeracy level, suggesting the enriched format was helpful to individuals irrespective of numeracy ability. Practice implications: Best practice elements in risk reports may help individuals form more accurate risk perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)936-943
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Genomic risk
  • Health risk assessment
  • Numeracy
  • Personalized medicine
  • Risk communication
  • Risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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