A qualitative analysis of the attitudes of Irish patients towards participation in genetic-based research.

Authors: McVeigh TP, Sweeney KJ, Kerin MJ, Gallagher DJ.

Source: Ir J Med Sci. 2015 Oct 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Progress in diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in medicine is dependent upon high-quality biomedical research.

We investigated attitudes to genetic research in Ireland, particularly with respect to commercial and financial implications.


A multi-centre, cross-sectional survey study was performed. Consecutive out-patients attending four clinics were asked to complete paper-based questionnaires. The same questionnaire was publicly available in electronic format on www.surveymonkey.com for 72 h. Data were analysed using SPSS.


351 questionnaires were completed (99 paper, 252 electronic). The majority of respondents were female (n = 288, 82 %), and highly educated, with 244 (70 %) attending college/university. Most participants supported genetic research (267, 76 %), more frequently for common diseases (274, 78 %) than rare disorders (204, 58 %, p < 0.001, χ 2).

A high level of support for genetic research exists among the Irish population, but active participation is dependent upon a number of factors, notably, type of biological material required, frequency of the disease in question, and commercial interest of the researchers.

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