A national survey of genetic counselors' personal values

Sara M. Pirzadeh, Patricia McCarthy Veach, Dianne M. Bartels, Juihsien Kao, Bonnie S. LeRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Personal values are motivational sources for an individual's actions [Hitlin and Piliavin (Annual Review of Sociology 30:359-393, 2004)]. Genetic counselors' values may influence their behaviors in clinical practice, but a profile of their personal values has not been identified empirically. In this study, 292 genetic counselors completed the Schwartz Universal Values Questionnaire (SUVQ; Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 1-65). Boston, MA: Academic.), a widely used measure of value types, and provided information about their demographic characteristics. Results indicate that respondents highly valued benevolence, self-direction, achievement, and universalism indicating a strong pattern of concern for the welfare of others. They placed considerably less value on stimulation, tradition, and power, which reflect personal interests. Respondents who reported practicing a religion scored significantly lower on stimulation and hedonism and higher on tradition and spirituality than those not practicing; married respondents and parents scored significantly lower on stimulation and achievement; and males scored higher on power than females. The value types are described, and training and research recommendations are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Ethics
  • Genetic counselor personal values
  • Morality
  • Nondirectiveness
  • Value conflicts
  • Values clarification


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