A religious framework as a lens for understanding the intersection of genetics, health, and disease

Tina M. Harris, Bethany Keeley, Samantha Barrientos, Marita Gronnvoll, Jamie Landau, Christopher R. Groscurth, Lijiang Shen, Youyou Cheng, J. David Cisneros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The primary goal of this study was to determine the extent to which religious frameworks inform lay public understandings of genes and disease. Contrary to existing research, there were minimal differences between racial groups. We did, however, observe two patterns in that data that are worthy of discussion. First, because participants were from the south, the finding that participants from both racial groups ascribe to a religious belief system to make sense of their lived experiences is not surprising. Rather, it appears to be reflective of the religious culture that is an integral part of the south and our identity as a nation. A second noteworthy finding is that while a significant number of participants believe that a relationship exists between health status, genes, and religious behaviors, they also recognize that positive health behaviors must also be adopted as a means for staving off disease. In some cases, however, there was a belief that health issues could dissolve or disappear as a result of certain religious behaviors such as prayer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 15 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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