Do participants in genome sequencing studies of psychiatric disorders wish to be informed of their results? A survey study

Elise T. Bui, Natalie K. Anderson, Layla Kassem, Francis J. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: As large-scale genome sequencing technology advances, concerns surrounding the reporting of individual findings to study volunteers have grown and fueled controversy. This is especially true in mental health research, where the clinical importance of sequencing results is particularly unclear. The ethical, legal, and social issues are being widely debated, but less is known about the attitudes of actual study volunteers toward sequencing studies or what they wish to learn about their DNA sequence and its health implications. This study provides information on psychiatric research volunteers' attitudes, beliefs, and concerns with respect to participation in DNA sequencing studies and reporting of individual results. Method: We conducted a pilot study using a questionnaire that we developed to assess what information volunteers in an ongoing family study of bipolar disorder would like to receive if they underwent genome sequencing, what they would do with that information, and what concerns they may have. Results: Almost all of the respondents were willing to participate in genome sequencing. Most respondents wished to be informed about all their health-related genetic risks, including risks for diseases without known prevention or treatment. However, few respondents felt well informed about the nature of genome sequencing or its implications for their health, insurability, or offspring. Conclusions: Despite generally positive attitudes toward genome sequencing among study volunteers, most are not fully aware of the special issues raised by genome sequencing. The attitudes of study volunteers should be considered in the debate about the reporting of individual findings from genome sequencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere101111
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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