Between acculturation and ambivalence: Knowledge of genetics and attitudes towards genetic testing in a consanguineous Bedouin community

Aviad E. Raz, Marcela Atar, Maya Rodnay, Ilana Shoham-Vardi, Rivka Carmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Bedouins of the Negev (Southern part of Israel) are a community at increased risk for genetic diseases and congenital anomalies as a result of frequent consanguinity (particularly patrilateral parallel-cousin marriage) and underutilization of prenatal genetic tests due to a Muslim ban on abortion. Objective: To assess the knowledge and attitudes of Bedouin schoolchildren and their teachers towards a community-based, premarital carrier-matching program aimed at reducing the prevalence at birth of genetic diseases. Methods: A questionnaire was presented to 61 teachers and 40 schoolchildren as part of guided interaction in small groups, conducted in Bedouin schools between 1999 and 2001. Results: Susceptibility as well as knowledge of genetics were found to correlate with a positive attitude towards the genetics program among both teachers and pupils. However, pupils had a lower knowledge index as compared to teachers, and their attitudes were slightly less positive. Conclusion: The difference between teachers and pupils is discussed in the context of the latter's acculturation, which contradicts tradition and parental authority and can generate ambivalence. Attitudes are further discussed in the context of the Health Belief Model and the complex interplay of tradition, Islam, cousin marriage and biomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalCommunity Genetics
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2003

Keywords

  • Bedouin society
  • Carrier matching
  • Cousin marriage
  • Cross-cultural education
  • Israel

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