טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentWolowelsky Yael
SubjectGenetic Counseling in an Arab Community; Families at High-
Risk for Cystic Fibrosis as a Model of the
Influence of Genetic Counseling in this
Community
DepartmentDepartment of Medicine
Supervisors Clinical Professor Zvi Borochowitz
Dr. Efrat Neter


Abstract

Cystic fibrosis is an incurable autosomal recessive disorder. Due to the high rate of consanguinity within the Israeli-Arab population, some communities may have high disease prevalence. The goals of the research were (1) to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes and intentions of an Arab population, regarding diagnostic tests for cystic fibrosis, and (2) to examine the effect of community genetic counseling on the knowledge, attitudes, and intentions of the target population.

Research groups included: a high-risk for cystic fibrosis intervention group which received community genetic counseling; a high-risk for cystic fibrosis control group and a general control group both of which were exposed to minimal intervention consisting of a leaflet in Arabic. The community intervention included: genetic counseling at community meetings in Arabic; a lecture by a prominent religious person on the Islamic attitude towards population screening tests; and a leaflet in Arabic. Knowledge, attitudes and testing intentions were evaluated by questionnaires given before, immediately after, and a year after the end of the intervention.   

The participants’ knowledge was increased both immediately and a year after the community interventions. However, only a short-term change was observed in the attitudes and intentions of the participants. The results indicated that a one-time activity results in a short-term change of attitudes and intentions but does not ensure a long-term change. Regression analysis showed that people’s attitudes serve as a predictor of one’s testing intention. Physicians’ attitudes and personal acquaintance with an affected child were rated as the factors most influencing the decision to be tested. Participants’ comments attested to the importance of an early prenatal diagnosis, as the time limit for pregnancy termination according to Islamic law is 120 days post-conception (approximately 18 weeks gestation).