Responsibility in dealing with genetic risk information
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17165
Journal Article (Published version)
Predictive testing information raises questions about risk communication, health responsibility, and about how to deal with the gap between knowledge of risks and options to act on this knowledge. For some diseases identified by predictive testing, specific treatments or interventions are available, while other diseases, thus far, remain untreatable or unpreventable; this triggers different forms of responsibility. Gender also often intersects with moral responsibility, regarding risk communication but also responsibilities of care which may become necessary with a family member’s onset of disease. The aim of the study was to analyze laypeople’s attitudes towards predictive testing with a special focus on forms of responsibility arising while dealing with uncertainty of risk information. We conducted seven focus groups with laypeople (n = 43) in four German cities in 2016. Participants were provided with different genetic testing scenarios (breast cancer, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, pharmacogenetics in rectal cancer) for discussing their responsibilities and risk perceptions. We identified three different forms of responsibility: self-responsibility and self-care, family responsibility and care for others, and professional responsibility. For laypeople, the decision for predictive genetic testing seems voluntary and free from external constraint; however, both family and professional conditions influence an individual’s decision.