Type 2 diabetes is a major health burden in the United States, and population trends suggest this burden will increase. High interest in, and increased availability of, testing for genetic risk of type 2 diabetes presents a new opportunity for reducing type 2 diabetes risk for many patients; however, to date, there is little evidence that genetic testing positively affects type 2 diabetes prevention. Genetic information may not fit patients illness representations, which may reduce the chances of risk-reducing behavior changes. The present study aimed to examine illness representations in a clinical sample who are at risk for type 2 diabetes and interested in genetic testing. The authors used the Common Sense Model to analyze survey responses of 409 patients with type 2 diabetes risk factors. Patients were interested in genetic testing for type 2 diabetes risk and believed in its importance. Most patients believed that genetic factors are important to developing type 2 diabetes (67%), that diet and exercise are effective in preventing type 2 diabetes (95%), and that lifestyle changes are more effective than drugs (86%). Belief in genetic causality was not related to poorer self-reported health behaviors. These results suggest that patients interest in genetic testing for type 2 diabetes might produce a teachable moment that clinicians can use to counsel behavior change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences