Examining the perceived transparency of DTC genetic testing company communication and its impact on consumer trust, attitude and behavioral intentions

Alan Abitbol, Nicole M. Lee, Matthew S. VanDyke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study examines perceived transparency of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing communication and measures its impact on consumers' trust, attitudes, and the intention to recommend the test to others. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey of US–based adults (over 18 years of age) (N = 271) was administered by the online panel company Qualtrics Panels. The sample consisted of participants who have taken a DTC genetic test previously because only existing consumers could provide insight into companies' transparency about the entire genetic testing process (including the communication before, during, and after) as they experienced it. Participants were asked questions that measured intention to recommend DTC genetic tests to others, trust, attitude toward the DTC testing, and perceptions of transparency of the DTC companies' communication. Findings: Results indicated that consumers who perceive DTC genetic testing companies to be transparent in their communication tend to trust the genetic testing process more, have more positive attitudes toward DTC genetic tests, and are more likely to recommend the tests to others. Research limitations/implications: This study integrates corporate communication and science communication through the theoretical framework of transparency. It empirically demonstrates that message transparency is key to increasing the publics' trust, attitude and behavioral intentions toward companies that involve sensitive health information or online privacy. Originality/value: This paper answers previous calls to explore the organizational approach of science communication in the context of the under-examined companies in the science and health sectors, specifically the DTC genetic testing industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-330
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Corporate communication
  • Direct-to-consumer genetic testing
  • Transparency
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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