, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 601-610
Date: 09 Mar 2013

Is the psychological impact of genetic testing moderated by support and sharing of test results to family and friends?

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Abstract

Receiving the results of genetic tests for a breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility can be a stressful experience. Here we studied the effects of social support (SS) and the sharing of test results on the psychological impact of BRCA1/2 test result disclosure. We also compared carriers and non-carriers on sharing, SS and psychological impact. Five-hundred and twenty-two unaffected women were followed prospectively for 2 years after receiving their test results. Psychological impact was measured on the impact of event scale. Multivariate multi-level models were used, and all the analyses were stratified depending on mutation status (carriers vs non-carriers). Two weeks after receiving their BRCA1/2 results, carriers had shared their test results less frequently than non-carriers (p < 0.01). Sharing test results was not significantly associated with psychological impact. Availability of SS was significantly associated with better psychological adjustment across time among carriers (p < 0.01), but not among non-carriers. For female BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, the importance of SS should be stressed, and possible ways of enlisting people in their entourage for this purpose should be discussed in the context of clinical encounters.

The members of the GENEPSO Cohort study is given in “Appendix”.