Couples’ Attributions for Work Function Changes in Prodromal Huntington Disease
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- Downing, N.R., Williams, J.K. & Paulsen, J.S. J Genet Counsel (2010) 19: 343. doi:10.1007/s10897-010-9294-0
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People who have tested positive for the expanded Huntington disease (HD) gene who are not yet diagnosed (pre-HD) and their companions report subtle changes in ability of people with pre-HD to do their jobs. However, it is not known whether they attribute these changes to HD. Semi-structured telephone interviews were analyzed from seven persons with pre-HD at different estimated points from diagnosis and six companions. Data were analyzed using qualitative analysis methods. Participants made attributions related to health, work, and temperament. Only one participant attributed a change to HD. The process of forming attributions was demonstrated through symptom monitoring and comparison of participants with pre-HD to others with and without HD. Participants also expressed uncertainty regarding how to make attributions. Attributions influence coping procedures, including whether to seek and accept medical treatment. In persons with prodromal HD the relationship between attributions and use of coping strategies for symptoms that interfere with job functioning is unknown.