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Am J Med Genet. 1988 Nov;31(3):617-21.

Invited essay on the psychological aspects of genetic counseling. V. Preselection: a family coping strategy in Huntington disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco.


Preselection refers to the "sick"-role assignment given to an asymptomatic individual in a family in which a genetic or other disorder with multiple uncertainties occurs. The selection process is made, often when the preselected person is still a child, without knowledge of who eventually will be affected. The process requires the collusion of the family members for its initiation and maintenance and serves as a major coping strategy to reduce or bind the stresses and anxieties engendered by uncertainty. Preselection is seen often in families in which Huntington disease occurs and is promoted by the delayed age of onset of the disorder and the uncertain gene status of the person at risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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