, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 325-337
Date: 14 Sep 2006

Illness Representations, Self-Regulation, and Genetic Counseling: A Theoretical Review

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In this article the Self Regulatory Theory (Leventhal, 1970; Leventhan H., Benyamini, Brownlee, Diefenbach, Leventhal E.A., Patrick-Miller, & Robitaille, 1997) is presented as a framework for conceptualizing genetic counseling. Findings published in the genetic counseling literature are re-interpreted from the perspective of the theory. Clients are seen as active information processors rather than passive receivers of information. Research related to clients’ representations of genetic causality of disease and specific genetic conditions is reviewed. Associations of genetic illness representations to self representations, coping and health behaviors are examined, and suggestions are made for applications of the theory in research and clinical practice.