Genomics and Behavior Change

Authored by: Jennifer L. Hay , Jennifer M. Bowers , Jada G. Hamilton

Handbook of Health Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138052819
eBook ISBN: 9781315167534
Adobe ISBN:


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Genomic medicine could revolutionize and personalize behavioral health, as well as the adoption of tailored clinical recommendations. To date, the research base extending genomic medicine and behavior change to clinical and public health settings has shown limited reach and inequitable access, with little inclusion of diverse populations. This chapter reviews the small body of existing research that has included diverse populations across target behaviors such as smoking, energy balance, alcohol use, and cancer screening, and highlights the promise of more inclusive research in genomics and behavior. In fact, interest in participating in genomic medicine research—when it is offered—is relatively high across diverse groups. Underexamined population-based challenges remain, such as access and trust, and there is ample opportunity to adopt theoretical approaches that consider potential mechanisms such as motivation or perceived control for health behaviors. Furthermore, Latinos have received relatively little research attention. The chapter concludes with recent examples of large-scale efforts to broaden the reach of genomic medicine. Projects that engage the general population will shape the future of behavioral genomics. Undoubtedly, our national investment in genomics research should benefit us all. Inclusive research instituted in the near-term could help narrow these gaps in the coming years.

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