Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 325–337

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


    • Department of PsychologyTel Aviv University
    • National Institutes of HealthNational Human Genome Research Institute
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10897-006-9044-5

Cite this article as:
Shiloh, S. J Genet Counsel (2006) 15: 325. doi:10.1007/s10897-006-9044-5

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.


genetic counselingillness representationself regulatory theory

Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2006