Patient beliefs and behaviors about genomic risk for type 2 diabetes: Implications for prevention

Patrick Gallagher, Heather A. King, Susanne B. Haga, Lori A. Orlando, Scott V. Joy, Gloria M. Trujillo, William Michael Scott, Marylou Bembe, Dana L. Creighton, Alex H. Cho, Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, Allison Vorderstrasse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-735
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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