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Analyzing readability and suitability of webpages related to genetic counseling and genetic testing

Charnego, Madalyn (2023) Analyzing readability and suitability of webpages related to genetic counseling and genetic testing. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background and Objective Web-based resources are often used by patients referred for genetic counseling to gather information prior to their appointment; however, many health care materials are written in excess of recommended reading levels. Little is known about their readability and suitability . This study aims to determine the readability and suitability of commonly accessed webpages and if there is a difference in these metrics depending on which type of organization (i.e., government, non-profit organization) authored the webpage.
Methods Twenty webpages were identified using Google. Searches of the questions “What is a genetic counselor?”, “What is genetic testing”, “Why do I need genetic testing?”, and “What happens at a genetic counseling appointment?” were completed and the top 5 pages were from each. These webpages were then analyzed using (Flesch-Kincaid and Standardized Measure of Gobbledygook scores) and the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM). To complete the SAM analysis, two reviewers completed the tool for each webpage. Sponsor type was determined based on the primary goal of the group that supported or published the webpage.
Results The average Flesch-Kincaid scores for the websites were between 8th and 12th grade. The average Standardized Measure of Gobbledygook scores were between 11th and 14th grade. The majority of webpages rated as adequate on the SAM scale.
Conclusion The webpages assessed through this study were above the recommended reading grade level of 6th to 8th grade. The webpages and were noted to be adequately suitable for the general population regarding the presentation and accessibility of information. The results of this study highlight the continued need for evaluation of patient resources, especially those on the internet, to ensure they are meeting the needs of the rising number of individuals being referred to genetic services. Results of this study further support the work being generated through Healthy People 2030 and the continued public health efforts to reduce health disparities related to low health literacy.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Charnego, Madalynmac580@pitt.edumac580
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDurst,
Committee MemberFelter,
Committee MemberMunro,
Date: 9 May 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 April 2023
Approval Date: 9 May 2023
Submission Date: 25 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 72
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Human Genetics
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Genetic counseling Genetic testing Readability Suitability Health literacy Webpages
Date Deposited: 10 May 2023 02:47
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 02:47


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