The aim of this special section is to showcase research contributing to our understanding of factors influencing decisions to undergo genetic testing and the impact of the genetic testing process on health-related behaviors of tested individuals. The first two articles report studies investigating factors associated with interest in genetic testing and acceptance of test results (Sherman et al. in J Behav Med doi:10.1007/s10865-015-9630-9, 2015; Taber et al. in J Behav Med doi:10.1007/s10865-015-9642-5, 2015b). The next two papers address the unique contribution of genetic risk information to understanding risk beyond genetic counseling alone (Heiniger et al. in J Behav Med doi10.1007/s10865-015-9632-7, 2015; Taber et al. in J Behav Med doi:10.1007/s10865-015-9648-z, 2015a). The final three articles investigate the effects of genetic risk information on beliefs about disease control and prevention (Aspinwall et al. in J Behav Med doi:10.1007/s10865-015-9631-8, 2015; Kelly et al. in J Behav Med doi10.1007/s10865-014-9613-2, 2014; Myers et al. in J Behav Med doi:10.1007/s10865-015-9626-5, 2015). Collectively, the special section of papers highlights the diverse ways in which behavioural medicine contributes to our understanding of genetic testing for disease risk, and points to the value of further research to better understand ways in which individuals perceive, interpret and respond to genetic risk information.