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Am J Med Genet. 1999 Jan 1;82(1):53-9.

Perceived personal control (PPC): a new concept in measuring outcome of genetic counseling.

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The Danek Gertner Institute of Human Genetics, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.


Many researchers have tried to establish criteria for the evaluation of genetic counseling and the assessment of its success. Most studies focused on counseling outcomes mainly educational and reproductive variables. In the present study we introduced the concept of "perceived personal control" (PPC), which captures a wider and more meaningful range of effects of genetic counseling. It was found to be central to coping with health threats and to adapting to a broad spectrum of health problems. This study investigated 154 counseling cases. Counselees were requested to complete pre- and post-counseling questionnaires consisting of a knowledge test, measures of PPC, expectations/evaluations of counseling, and satisfaction with the procedure. Comparisons of mean PPC scores before and after counseling showed significant increases. Higher post-counseling PPC was found among counselees who had been given a definite diagnosis, a specific recurrence risk, and been offered prenatal diagnosis. Post-counseling PPC also correlated with knowledge, satisfaction, counseling evaluations, and expectation fulfillment. The findings suggest that PPC is a valid measure for the evaluation of genetic counseling outcomes. The psychometrically reliable scales developed in this study can become helpful tools for assessing genetic counseling both in research and in clinical practice, helping the counselor evaluate the counseling session and focus on the counselees' needs.

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