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Evaluating Web-based Educational Modules on Genetic Testing for Autism among Parents of Children with Autism

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New genomic tests for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are being offered to children and families with ASD; however, these tests are underutilized by parents of children affected with ASD.


We designed, implemented and pilot-tested an educational intervention to enhance parental genetic knowledge and assist them to make informed decisions about genomic testing. We utilized a pre-/post-test design to evaluate genetic knowledge and test perceptions in a sample of parents of children with ASD.


Fifty-three parents participated in our online training (5 modules) and completed pre- and post-assessments. Our surveys queried knowledge, attitudes, and intention to test. The knowledge section contained questions regarding autism, genes, and genetic testing for autism. The other 2 sections included attitudinal questions about testing as well as parents’ behavioral intention to seek genetic testing for autism.


Our results indicate that knowledge significantly improved following the intervention (p < .001). Although attitude and intention scores changed from pre-to post-assessment, these changes were not statistically significant. Our results demonstrate that this first-of-its-kind educational program designed for parents of children with ASD was effective at increasing parents’ knowledge related to genomic testing for autism
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Keywords: autism; educational modules; genetic testing for autism; parents

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2018

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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