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Views on Genetic Testing: An AARP Bulletin Survey

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A large majority of Americans have never been tested for their genetic makeup, according to a recent AARP Bulletin survey.  Moreover, most would not consider undergoing genetic testing to find out if they are susceptible to a disease such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, or diabetes.

The top reasons why respondents have not had genetic testing include never having given it any thought (63%), the cost (32%), not wanting to know the results (21%), concerned someone else may get the results (20%), and being skeptical of science (12%).

Other key survey findings include:

  • Most individuals (66%) feel that only one self should see the results of genetic test.  Those age 65 years and older (44%) were more likely to think family members should have access to their information than their younger age 50 to 64 counterparts (26%).
  • About half of the respondents would take better care of themselves (49%) and save more money (45%) if a genetic test showed they would live to be 100 years old.


GfK Roper included the AARP Bulletin’s Genetic Testing questions in their OMNITEL, a weekly national telephone omnibus service. The interviews were conducted from July 23-25, 2010 with a total of 1,000 completed interviews from adults 18 years of age and over. For more information, please contact Helen W. Brown at (202) 434-6172.

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