Although the term mutation is frequently used in genetic counseling, it may carry negative connotations and create misunderstanding. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between the impressions regarding three Japanese terms mutation of gene, change of gene, and lesion of gene as well as to investigate the depth of understanding regarding mutation. A total of 175 university students and auditing students were included and responded to two questionnaires that were Impressions regarding the term in the semantic differential method and Knowledge about the concept of mutation. In factor analysis, three factors (Value, Change Rate, and Intention) were extracted. Participants were divided into three groups depending on their knowledge, and a two-way analysis of variance (Term × Knowledge Group) was conducted on the factor score for each. Results showed that the main effect of the 'Term' was significant for the Value Factor and that interaction was significant for the Change Rate Factor, and that the main effect of Knowledge Group was significant for the Intention Factor. The findings suggest that healthcare professionals should demonstrate an awareness of varying impressions of the different terms used to refer to the identical concepts of mutation. This is of particular importance when communicating with patients and their families.
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