African Americans’ Responses to Genetic Explanations of Lung Cancer Disparities and Their Willingness to Participate in Clinical Genetics Research
To assess whether reactions to genetic explanations for disparities in lung cancer incidence among family members of African American patients with lung cancer are associated with willingness to participate in clinical genetics research. Data are reported for 67 self-identified African Americans aged 18 to 55 years who completed a telephone survey assessing reactions to explanations (i.e., genetics, toxin exposure, menthol cigarettes, and race-related stress) for lung cancer disparities. Majority were female (70%), current smokers (57%), and patients' biological relatives (70%). Family members rated the four explanations similarly, each as believable, fair, and not too worrisome. Participants also indicated a high level of willingness to participate in genetics research (M = 4.1 +/- 1.0; scale: 1-5). Endorsements of genetics explanations for disparities as believable and fair, and toxin exposure as believable were associated significantly with willingness to participate in genetics research. These results suggest that strategies to encourage African Americans' participation in genetics research would do well to inform potential participants of how their involvement might be used to better understand important environmental factors that affect health disparities.