Knowledge and attitude toward genetic diseases and genetic tests among pre-marriage individuals: A cross-sectional study in northern Iran


Background: Genetic testing has been widely introduced for many hereditary disorders. While the attitudes towards these facilities have been evaluated in many countries, there are only a few reports on the knowledge of and the orientation among Iranians.

Objective: The current study assesses the attitudes and knowledge of pre-marriage individuals toward the availability and use of genetic tests.

Materials and Methods: A comprehensive questionnaire was distributed among 408 marrying individuals. The questions addressed the demographic characteristics along the registration of participant’s knowledge, education, and attitude toward genetic testing. The individuals were divided into three groups based on their knowledge: 1) Scored above 80 to 100 were defined as “good” 2) 60 to 80 as “average” 3) less than 60 as “poor” knowledge.

Result: Most participants (86%) believed consanguineous marriages increase the risk of genetic diseases; 82.3% knew that thalassemia is a type of genetic disease, only 33.3% could distinguish prenatal diagnosis (PND) from other laboratory tests. The relationship between the participants’ knowledge and their level of education was significant (r = 0.78, p < 0.001), age (r =–0.16, p < 0.01), and urbanity (p < 0.01). A prominent relationship was observed between the knowledge (r = 0.64, p < 0.001) or education (r = 0.62, p < 0.001) and people’s desire to use the genetic tests before the wedding ceremony. No significant correlations were found between the participant’s attitude and their ages/urbanity. Most of the individuals agreed to arrange a genetic counseling before marriage (0.94%).

Conclusion: This study revealed that most individuals were interested in using genetic counseling services and genetic tests before marriage.

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