Parents’ attitudes toward genetic testing of children for health conditions

a systematic review

Q. Lim, B. C. McGill*, V. F. Quinn, K. M. Tucker, D. Mizrahi, A. F. Patenaude, M. Warby, R. J. Cohn, C. E. Wakefield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Citations (Scopus)


This review assessed parents’ attitudes toward childhood genetic testing for health conditions, with a focus on perceived advantages and disadvantages. We also evaluated the factors that influence parents’ attitudes toward childhood genetic testing. We searched Medline, Medline In-Process, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Social Work Abstracts and CINAHL. We screened 945 abstracts and identified 21 studies representing the views of 3934 parents. Parents reported largely positive attitudes toward childhood genetic testing across different genetic tests with varying medical utility. Parents perceived a range of advantages and disadvantages of childhood genetic testing. Childhood genetic testing was viewed by most as beneficial. Parents’ education level, genetic status, sex and sociodemographic status were associated with reported attitudes. This yielded some conflicting findings, indicating the need for further research. Genetic counseling remains essential to support this population in making well-informed decisions. Targeted interventions tailored to specific families with different sociodemographic characteristics may be useful. Further research on the long-term impact of childhood genetic testing on families is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-578
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • attitude
  • genetic testing
  • parents
  • pediatrics

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