Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Genetic Counseling

Sub-Department

School of Medicine

First Advisor

Debera Zvejnieks

Abstract

Research has shown a reluctance in African-American males to pursue testing for sickle cell trait. Few studies have tried to discern what barriers are contributing to this issue within the African-American male community. Research suggests a lack of knowledge may be the biggest contributing factor. This study hypothesized there would be a significant difference in knowledge of sickle cell trait based on educational level, age, and health beliefs. African-America male participants (N=116), ages 18 and over, completed a questionnaire assessing knowledge, risk perception, health beliefs, barriers, and motivating factors within the context of sickle cell trait. One-way and two-way analysis of variance identified age as an influential factor. Results showed a significant interaction between age and knowledge of sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease (p = .009). Factors including perceived discrimination, perceived risk of sickle cell trait based on parent report, and sentiments on playing sports with sickle cell trait were all influenced by age (all p < 0.05). Health beliefs such as having tattoos or piercings and getting annual check-ups with a primary care physician were also influenced by age (both p < 0.02). The most significant barrier identified was a lack of information about testing options from primary care physicians, while the largest motivating factor for testing was for personal health reasons. Findings from this study could aid genetic counselors with strategies to increase sickle cell trait testing in African-American men. Thereby, increasing awareness of sickle cell trait in the community for informative health and reproductive outlook.

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