, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 453-463
Date: 29 Dec 2005

Psychological Adjustment and Knowledge About Hereditary Hemochromatosis in a Clinic-Based Sample: A Prospective Study

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Abstract

This study assessed psychological adjustment and quality of life relative to population-based norms and knowledge about hereditary hemochromatosis in a sample of 101 patients who attended a hemochromatosis clinic. Participants were assessed prior to their clinic visit, and two weeks and 12 months after attendance, using self-administered questionnaires. Mean Mental Health Component Scores from the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) (45.3, 95% CI 43.2, 47.4) were as compromised as those found amongst stroke victims (45.9, 95% CI 42.8, 49.0) who had participated in a national health survey. Recall of the genetic testing result was less than optimal, in that only 69.3% of those with genetic testing results knew whether they carried one or two mutations. This study demonstrates that patients would benefit from routine assessment of psychological distress and referral to mental health professionals of those whose levels of distress suggest a need for clinical intervention. Results also show that patients may benefit from strategies aimed at improving recall of genetic testing results.