Difficult Questions and Ambivalent Answers on Genetic Testing
Keywords:Genetic testing, risk, public attitude, responsibility, complexity, ambivalence
A qualitative pilot study on the attitudes of some citizens in southern Sweden toward predictive genetic testing – and a quantitative nation wide opinion poll targeting the same issues, was initiated by the Cultural Scientific Research Team of BAGADILICO. The latter is an international biomedical research environment on neurological disease at Lund University. The data of the two studies crystallized through analysis into themes around which the informants’ personal negotiations of opinions and emotions in relation to the topic centred: Concept of Risk,’Relations and Moral Multi-layers, Worry, Agency and Autonomy, Authority, and Rationality versus Emotion. The studies indicate that even groups of people that beforehand are non-engaged in the issue, harbour complex and ambivalent emotions and opinions toward questions like this. A certain kind of situation bound pragmatism that with difficulty could be shown by quantitative methods alone emerges. This confirms our belief that methodological consideration of combining quantitative and qualitative methods is crucial for gaining a more complex representation of attitudes, as well as for problematizing the idea of a unified public open to inquiry.
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