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17.10.2016 | Original Research | Ausgabe 3/2017

Journal of Genetic Counseling 3/2017

Parents’ Understanding of Genetics and Heritability

Journal of Genetic Counseling > Ausgabe 3/2017
Brittany Harding, Rylan Egan, Peter Kannu, Jennifer J. MacKenzie


Parents have the opportunity to educate their children to facilitate behaviours and lifestyle habits that may prevent or delay genetic disease, or mitigate predispositions within the family. We sought to determine parents’ understanding of genetic knowledge and heritability. Using a quantitative survey methodology 108 volunteer participants were surveyed from a convenience sample of all parents/caregivers within the waiting room of a general children’s outpatient clinic. Results indicated that average genetic knowledge levels were fairly high, with the majority of participants scoring 70–80 % correct on knowledge-based questions. Further, scores were found to be positively correlated with education, but inversely correlated with self-perceived knowledge. This finding suggests that participants with less experience tended to overestimate their knowledge. We suggest that gaps in knowledge of genetics and heritability could be improved by using educational interventions such as media campaigns, provision of informational brochures, or changes to current high school curriculum which would increase exposure to genetics and heritability for both parents and children.

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