Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 584–591

Knowledge and Attitudes about Personalized Mental Health Genomics: Narratives from Individuals Coping with Serious Mental Illness


  • Danielle N. Potokar
    • Minneapolis VA Medical Center (116B)
  • Catherine H. Stein
    • Bowling Green State University
  • Olivia A. Darrah
    • Minneapolis VA Medical Center (116B)
  • Brent C. Taylor
    • Minneapolis VA Medical Center (116B)
    • Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research
    • Department of MedicineUniversity of Minnesota
    • Division of Epidemiology and Community HealthUniversity of Minnesota
    • Minneapolis VA Medical Center (116B)
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Minnesota Medical School
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Minnesota
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10597-011-9400-2

Cite this article as:
Potokar, D.N., Stein, C.H., Darrah, O.A. et al. Community Ment Health J (2012) 48: 584. doi:10.1007/s10597-011-9400-2


The present qualitative study examined the personal accounts, elicited via semi-structured interview, of nine United States military veterans with serious mental illness to describe their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about psychiatric genetics, genetic testing and counseling for mental illness. The aim of the research was to elucidate issues from the perspective of adults with mental illness that may inform the education and training of mental health providers on basic genetic counseling. Findings suggest that participants had some basic knowledge about genetics, were interested in psychiatric genetic testing, and had an awareness of both positive and negative aspects of genetic test results. Participants tended to have overly optimistic ideas about current advances in psychiatric genetics and were motivated to undergo genetic testing for the good of their families and to benefit society. Implications of findings for research and practice are discussed.


Serious mental illnessPsychiatric genetic testingGenetic knowledgeQualitative researchPersonal genomics

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (Outside the USA) 2011