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"I didn't take it too seriously because I'd just never heard of it": Experiential knowledge and genetic screening for thalassaemia in the UK

Boardman, Felicity K. and Hale, Rachel 2019. "I didn't take it too seriously because I'd just never heard of it": Experiential knowledge and genetic screening for thalassaemia in the UK. Journal of Genetic Counseling 28 (1) , pp. 141-154. 10.1002/jgc4.1042

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Abstract

Members of the public face particular challenges when undergoing reproductive genetic screening. Lack of family history with genetic disease has been identified as a key barrier affecting screening uptake and responses to genetic risk. This study explores this obstacle using beta thalassaemia as a case study. Fifteen in‐depth qualitative interviews were conducted exploring the reproductive views and decisions of people at risk of transmitting thalassaemia. Eleven participants had thalassaemia themselves and/or were members of an affected family. Four participants were identified as thalassaemia carriers through genetic screening programmes with no family history. Notable differences were observed between these two groups. For thalassaemic individuals and families, past experience clarified and facilitated their sense of reproductive responsibility, however carriers struggled to relate to, and incorporate the information into their lives. It was witnessing their child becoming symptomatic—rather than receiving a diagnosis or genetic risk information per se that had the most substantial influence on carriers’ subsequent views and decisions. Educational resources used to support genetic screening programmes would benefit from an engagement with the experiential accounts of life with genetic disease in order to more effectively bridge the chasm in knowledge and understanding between affected families and the general public, towards whom expansive genetic screening is aimed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1059-7700
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 26 October 2018
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2019 11:15
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/119473

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