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Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Dec;18(12):1296-301. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.119. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

The role of disease perceptions and results sharing in psychological adaptation after genetic susceptibility testing: the REVEAL Study.

Author information

  • 1Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-2073, USA. ashidas@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

This study evaluates the extent to which psychological adaptation (validated measures of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and test-specific distress) after genetic susceptibility testing is influenced by changes in beliefs about Alzheimer's disease (AD) and sharing of test results with others. Adult children of AD patients (N=269) from a randomized clinical trial involving genetic testing for apolipoprotein E (APOE) provided information before, as well as 6 weeks and 12 months after results disclosure. The levels of adaptation varied highly among participants at 12-month assessment. Participants who learned that they were ε4 negative (lower risk) had a reduction in perceived risk and concern about developing AD compared with those who learned that they were ε4 positive. Those who received results through an extended educational protocol (three in-person visits) had a larger decline in AD concern than those in a condensed protocol (educational brochure and two in-person visits). Increase in AD concern 6 weeks after disclosure was associated with increase in depression scores (b=0.20, P<0.01) and anxiety levels (b=0.20, P<0.01), and higher distress associated with AD genetic testing (b=0.18, P=0.02) 1 year after testing. Increase in perceived risk (b=0.16, P=0.04) was also associated with higher AD genetic testing distress. Sharing the test results with health professionals and friends (but not family) was associated with decrease in depression (b=-0.11, P=0.05) and anxiety levels (b=-0.16, P<0.01), respectively after a year. Enhancing discussion with regard to risks and concerns about AD during pretesting counseling and obtaining support through sharing the results after testing may help facilitate test recipients' long-term psychological adaptation.

PMID:
20664629
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2988099
Free PMC Article
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