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Genet Med. 2002 Nov-Dec;4(6):451-63.

Incorporating the Contextual Assessment Approach to regimens used in genetic family studies.

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Division of Nephrology/Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 78229-3900, USA.



To develop a procedure that enhances enrollment and addresses ethical issues associated with participation in genetic family studies.


The Contextual Assessment Approach (CAA) was standardized to the recruitment procedures in the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Structured interviews with the CAA questionnaire (CAA-Q) were conducted with 50 low-income Mexican-American probands. The CAA allows systematic interpretation of health beliefs, family dynamics, and attitudes regarding participation in FIND. Data analyses included qualitative and quantitative methods.


CAA analyses of probands' perspectives regarding relatives' enrollment in FIND facilitated recruiting 34 probands from whom 30 families were enrolled (family enrollment rate: 88%). CAA reduced recruitment efforts by 32% and avoided exerting undue pressure on unwilling participants to ensure voluntary participation. Remarkably, 76% of the subjects were unaware of any risk associated with participation in genetic family studies.


Administering the CAA-Q before enrolling subjects in FIND increased our enrollment rate by targeting efforts toward the willing subjects and addressing ethical issues associated with their participation.

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