Media Exposure and Genetic Literacy Skills to Evaluate Angelina Jolie's Decision for Prophylactic Mastectomy
PURPOSE: To examine public preparedness to evaluate and respond to Angelina Jolie's well-publicized decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy. METHODS: A consumer panel (n = 1,008) completed an online survey in November 2013, reporting exposure to Jolie's story, confidence applying genomic knowledge to evaluate her decision, and ability to interpret provided genetic risk information (genetic literacy skills). Linear and logistic regressions tested mediating/moderating models of these factors in association with opinions regarding mastectomies. RESULTS: Confidence with genomics was associated with increased genetic literacy skills and increased media exposure, with a significant interaction between the two. Confidence was also associated with favoring mastectomies for women with BRCA mutations, mediating the relationship with media exposure. Respondents were more likely to form opinions about mastectomies if they had high genetic literacy skills. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that having higher genetic literacy skills may increase the public's ability to form opinions about clinical applications of genomic discovery. However, repeated media exposure to high-profile stories may artificially inflate confidence among those with low genetic literacy. © 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.