Genetic testing likelihood: The impact of abortion views and quality of life information on women's decisions

Jessica L. Wilson, Gail M. Ferguson, Judith M. Thorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about factors predicting the likelihood of choosing genetic testing in college aged women versus older women, including knowledge of quality of life (QOL) associated with a disorder. Using vignettes with female college students (Experiment 1: n∈=∈257, mean age∈=∈19.70 yrs) and female faculty/staff/alumni (Experiment 2: n nulliparous∈=∈83, mean age∈=∈30.20 yrs; n mothers∈=∈53, mean age∈=∈33.77 yrs), we examined the contribution of multiple factors to predicting genetic testing likelihood for cystic fibrosis. We investigated malleable situational factors (style of genetic risk presentation and providing QOL information including physical and social aspects) and stable dispositional factors (abortion views). Parity (i.e., prior births) was more influential in women's genetic testing likelihood than was age. Greater acceptability of abortion for oneself and self-assessed knowledge following QOL information were predictors of higher testing likelihood for college students. Greater acceptability of abortion for another person was a predictor for nulliparous women. Abortion views moderated the effect of predictors for nulliparous women and mothers. Findings encourage genetic counselors to utilize QOL information to promote informed decision making through genetic testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Abortion
  • College students
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Genetic counseling
  • Motherhood
  • Prenatal genetic testing
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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