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Public Health




Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100,000 Americans have SCD, and more than 2 million Americans have a sickle cell trait (SCT). People with SCD are more likely than others to suffer premature mortality. Genetic screening is an important step in improving quality of life and increasing longevity for those with SCD. Early detection may lead to effective management of the disease and reduction of complicating factors. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine whether health education about SCD would impact college students' knowledge, attitudes, perceived risk, and intention to seek genetic screening and counseling in relation to the disease. The theoretical foundation for this study was the health belief model (HBM). This study involved 80 college students selected from a North Texas college. These students completed pre and post versions of an SCD questionnaire. Independent samples t tests were used to determine if there were significant differences in pre- and posttest scores of participants in both groups, and a MANOVA was used to determine differences among the scores of participants in the experimental group when grouped by age, gender, race, religiosity, and socioeconomic status. The results of this study showed that SCD health education improved the knowledge of and attitudes towards participants. Future research could explore barriers to seeking SCD screening and genetic counseling. Results of this study may further social change by encouraging the development of college-based health education efforts to increase awareness about SCD.