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Motivations for genetic testing for lung cancer risk among young smokers
  1. Suzanne C O'Neill1,
  2. Isaac M Lipkus2,
  3. Saskia C Sanderson3,
  4. James Shepperd4,
  5. Sharron Docherty2,
  6. Colleen M McBride5
  1. 1Cancer Control Program, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA
  2. 2School of Nursing, Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  3. 3Genetic and Genomic Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA
  4. 4Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  5. 5Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Suzanne C O'Neill, Cancer Control Program, Georgetown University, 3300 Whitehaven St. NW, Suite 4100, Washington, DC 20007, USA; sco4{at}


Objective To examine why young people might want to undergo genetic susceptibility testing for lung cancer despite knowing that tested gene variants are associated with small increases in disease risk.

Methods The authors used a mixed-method approach to evaluate motives for and against genetic testing and the association between these motivations and testing intentions in 128 college students who smoke.

Results Exploratory factor analysis yielded four reliable factors: Test Scepticism, Test Optimism, Knowledge Enhancement and Smoking Optimism. Test Optimism and Knowledge Enhancement correlated positively with intentions to test in bivariate and multivariate analyses (ps<0.001). Test Scepticism correlated negatively with testing intentions in multivariate analyses (p<0.05). Open-ended questions assessing testing motivations generally replicated themes of the quantitative survey.

Conclusion In addition to learning about health risks, young people may be motivated to seek genetic testing for reasons, such as gaining knowledge about new genetic technologies more broadly.

  • Motivations
  • primary prevention
  • genetic testing
  • GSTM1
  • prevention
  • cessation
  • addiction

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  • Funding Support for this work was provided by the National Cancer Institute (Grant RO1 CA01846 to IML) and the American Cancer Society (Grant MRSG-10-110-01-CPPB to SCO).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Duke University and the University of Florida.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Due to the budget of this project, there was no data sharing plan.