Knowledge and attitudes toward a free education and Ashkenazi Jewish carrier testing program

G. Hegwer, C. Fairley, J. Charrow, K. E. Ormond*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Carrier testing is offered on the basis of Ashkenazi Jewish background in both the prenatal and preconception settings, with the goal of decreasing the prevalence of affected individuals and allowing informed decision-making during childbearing. The purpose of this study was to (1) document the demographic characteristics of individuals who attended a free education and screening program, (2) learn how the education program changed attendees' knowledge and attitudes by learning more about these disorders, and (3) determine how participants perceived their carrier status risk. One hundred seventy-four individuals completed questionnaires at the beginning and end of an educational program about the Ashkenazi Jewish genetic disorders. There was a statistically significant difference in the participant's level of knowledge from the pre- to post education (p < .001). Females reported a significantly higher level of concern about the disorders (p = .004) and their carrier status (p = .006) before the education, as well as about their carrier status post education (p = .05). Finally, having one or more parent affiliated with Orthodox Judaism was related to higher knowledge before the education program (p = .05). In conclusion, this study demonstrated that an educational carrier screening program increased knowledge about the disorders and also produced mild anxiety regarding personal and reproductive risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Ashkenazi Jews
  • Carrier screening
  • Education
  • Genetic disorders
  • Tay Sachs disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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