Are smokers interested in genetic testing for smoking addiction? A socio-cognitive approach.

C.M.R. Smerecnik*, M. Quaak, C.P. van Schayck, F.J. van Schooten, H. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

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Genetic advances have made genetically tailored smoking cessation treatments possible. In this study, we examined whether smokers are interested in undergoing a genetic test to identify their genetic susceptibility to nicotine addiction. In addition, we aimed to identify socio-cognitive determinants of smokers' intention to undergo genetic testing. Following the protection motivation theory (PMT), we assessed the following constructs using an online survey among 587 smokers: threat appraisal (i.e. susceptibility and severity), fear, coping appraisal (i.e. response efficacy and self-efficacy), response costs and intention. In addition, knowledge, social norms and information-seeking behaviour were measured. Mean intention rates were 2.57 on a 5-point scale. Intention was significantly associated with threat appraisal and coping appraisal, as predicted by the PMT. Fear of the outcome was negatively associated with the intention to undergo genetic testing, but response costs, knowledge and social influence were not. Intention to undergo genetic testing in turn was positively related to seeking information about genetic testing and genetically tailored smoking cessation treatments. Smokers seem ambivalent or 'on the fence' with regard to undergoing a genetic test for smoking addiction. Socio-cognitive concepts such as susceptibility, severity, response efficacy and self-efficacy may be used to inform or educate smokers about the value of genetically tailored smoking cessation treatments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1112
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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