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J Med Genet. 2004 Jul;41(7):e100.

Methodology in longitudinal studies on psychological effects of predictive DNA testing: a review.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.


In the last two decades predictive testing programs have become available for various hereditary diseases, often accompanied by follow-up studies on the psychological effects of test outcomes. The aim of this systematic literature review is to describe and evaluate the statistical methods that were used in these follow-up studies. A literature search revealed 40 longitudinal quantitative studies that met the selection criteria for the review. Fifteen studies (38%) applied adequate statistical methods. The majority, 25 studies, applied less suitable statistical techniques. Nine studies (23%) did not report on dropout rate, and 18 studies provided no characteristics of the dropouts. Thirteen out of 22 studies that should have provided data on missing values, actually reported on the missing values. It is concluded that many studies could have yielded more and better results if more appropriate methodology had been used.

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