Examining information-seeking behavior in genetic testing for cancer predisposition: A qualitative interview study

B.M. Zimmermann*, J. Fanderl, I. Kone, M. Rabaglio, N. Burki, D. Shaw, B. Elger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: This study aims to assess information needs and information sources and seeks to illustrate what at-risk individuals consider motivators of and barriers to information-seeking before and after genetic testing for cancer predisposition.Methods: Semi-structured interviews with people seeking genetic counseling in Switzerland were analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis. Wilson's model of information behavior was the theoretical framework.Results: We identified four themes that illustrate motivators of and barriers to information-seeking: attitudes and emotions; knowledge; social environment; and demographic factors. We also elucidated information needs and collected participants' information sources.Conclusion: This study s pound empirical approach helps healthcare professionals to understand their patients' behaviors and wishes concerning information-seeking more concretely than theoretical models alone. The study also identifies information gaps, especially outside the genetic counseling setting.Practice implications: Genetic counselors and other healthcare professionals need to purposefully assist patients in finding trustworthy and accessible information. Healthcare professionals in all disciplines need to be educated about predictive genetic testing. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • brca
  • cancer predisposition
  • genetic testing
  • health communication
  • information-seeking behavior
  • BRCA
  • Cancer predisposition
  • Genetic testing
  • Health communication
  • Information-seeking behavior


Dive into the research topics of 'Examining information-seeking behavior in genetic testing for cancer predisposition: A qualitative interview study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this