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Patient Educ Couns. 2008 May;71(2):234-43. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.01.008. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Anxiety and depression among subjects attending genetic counseling for hereditary cancer.

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1
Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. cathrine.bjorvatn@isf.uib.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The main aims of the study were to investigate changes in anxiety and depression over time in subjects attending genetic counseling (GC) for hereditary cancer, and secondly, to identify psychological, social, and medical variables associated with the course and outcome of anxiety and depression.

METHODS:

Of 275 eligible individuals, 221 consented to participate, 214 returned the baseline questionnaire, and were included in a prospective multi-center study. Questionnaires were mailed to the subjects before and after the GC.

RESULTS:

The mean values for anxiety and depression were quite low at all assessments. Mixed linear analyzes revealed that both anxiety and depression declined over time. Higher age, GC-related self-efficacy, and social support were associated with lower levels of anxiety. More social support, satisfaction with GC, self-rated physical function, and GC-related self-efficacy were associated with lower levels of depression. The effects of social support on both anxiety and depression had a significant interaction with time.

CONCLUSION:

The results support the buffer theory, which proposes that social support acts as a buffer, protecting people from the potentially pathogenic influence of stressful life events, such as GC.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Subjects with less social support and less GC-related self-efficacy seem to be more vulnerable to anxiety and depression and should be offered extra attention by counselors.

PMID:
18295433
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2008.01.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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