, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 384-393
Date: 08 Jul 2008

The Relationship Between Psychological Distress and Personality in Women from Families with Familial Breast/Ovarian or Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer in the Absence of Demonstrated Mutations

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The aim of this study was to explore associations between mental and cancer-specific distress (psychological distress) and personality traits in healthy women belonging to families with familial cancer and absence of demonstrated mutations. We included 238 healthy women from families with familial breast-ovarian cancer (FBOC) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). They responded to a questionnaire including validated instruments for psychological distress and personality traits. Information on demography and cancer-related issues were also collected. Significant associations between psychological distress and personality traits were found in these women. The traits of Optimism and Harm avoidance showed the strongest association with both types of distress. Associations between psychological distress and personality traits were observed in women from families with FBOC or HNPCC that fulfilled clinical criteria for familial breast/ovarian cancer in the absence of demonstrated mutations. Screening for such traits could be helpful in genetic counseling.