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Community Ment Health J. 2012 Oct;48(5):584-91. doi: 10.1007/s10597-011-9400-2. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Knowledge and attitudes about personalized mental health genomics: narratives from individuals coping with serious mental illness.

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  • 1Minneapolis VA Medical Center (116B), One Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA.


The present qualitative study examined the personal accounts, elicited via semi-structured interview, of nine United States military veterans with serious mental illness to describe their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about psychiatric genetics, genetic testing and counseling for mental illness. The aim of the research was to elucidate issues from the perspective of adults with mental illness that may inform the education and training of mental health providers on basic genetic counseling. Findings suggest that participants had some basic knowledge about genetics, were interested in psychiatric genetic testing, and had an awareness of both positive and negative aspects of genetic test results. Participants tended to have overly optimistic ideas about current advances in psychiatric genetics and were motivated to undergo genetic testing for the good of their families and to benefit society. Implications of findings for research and practice are discussed.

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