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J Pediatr Psychol. 2009 Jul;34(6):627-38. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn033. Epub 2008 Apr 1.

Brief assessment of parents' attitudes toward testing minor children for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer genes: development and validation of the Pediatric BRCA1/2 Testing Attitudes Scale (P-TAS).

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  • 1Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, USA.



Predictive genetic testing for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer risk (BRCA1/2 testing) is not recommended for minor children due to its lack of immediate medical benefit and potential psychological risk. Yet, tested mothers are often interested in learning about their children's cancer risks via pediatric BRCA1/2 testing, raising a host of bioethical concerns. However, no reliable or valid tool exists to formally gauge parents' interest in such testing. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a new measure for use in genetic research and consultation, known as the Pediatric BRCA1/2 Testing Attitudes Scale (P-TAS).


After pretest genetic counseling and provision of a blood sample for BRCA1/2 testing, the P-TAS was administered to 187 mothers of children between 8- and 21-years-old. The measure was also given to 96 of the mothers' nontested co-parents. Analyses of the factor structure and psychometric properties of the measure were performed in mothers and confirmed in their co-parents.


The two factors of the P-TAS, labeled Attitudes and Beliefs (Factor 1) and Decision Making and Communication (Factor 2), accounted for 62.9% of the variance and were reliable (Cronbach's coefficient alphas =.70 and .90, respectively); the structure and properties were largely confirmed among co-parents. Validity was indicated through its convergence with related constructs.


This new tool may be integrated into genetic counseling research to better assess parents' attitudes and interests in pediatric BRCA1/2 testing. Such information may help guide ongoing discussions about the appropriateness of testing in adolescent or young adult children.

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