Objective: Purposes of this study are: (1) to evaluate attitudes, beliefs and experiences towards dementia among relatives of Italian familial cases; (2) to perform a cross-cultural comparison between Italian and American samples; (3) to identify predictors of intentions to undergo hypothetical genetic testing. Methods: Participants were 134 relatives of patients affected by familial forms of dementia. We administered tests measuring health psychological styles, social variables, illness perceptions, intentions regarding genetic testing, and perceptions of the pros and cons of genetic testing. Results: Respondents had a poor Alzheimer's disease knowledge and a low perceived dementia threat. When compared to Americans, Italians reported greater willingness to undergo genetic testing and perceived a different subset of benefits and risks. The strongest predictors of test intention were decisional balance, homemaker status and two beliefs concerning dementia causes. Conclusions: Italians had a poor knowledge of the disease and a low awareness of personal risk of developing dementia. As compared to Americans, they expressed higher intentions to undergo genetic testing and they have a different perception of benefits and risks. Practice Implications: Understanding of cultural differences in knowledge, attitudes and perception of the disease is important to design optimal health services and education programs for dementia.
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