, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 289-309

The Colored, Eco-Genetic Relationship Map (CEGRM): A Conceptual Approach and Tool for Genetic Counseling Research

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Abstract

The Colored Ecological and Genetic Relational Map (CEGRM) [pronounced see-gram] is a conceptual approach and tool for presenting information about family and nonkin relationships and stories about inherited diseases in a simple, understandable form. It combines information that can be derived from pedigrees, genograms, ecomaps, and social network analysis in a single, or series of, pictorial maps based on colors and shapes. The CEGRM is based on a social systems perspective, particularly emphasizing social exchange and resource theories. The CEGRM should be particularly useful in genetic counseling research with members of suspected cancer-risk families or families with other late-onset inherited diseases. A genetic counseling client comes with a social history and context as well as a genetic one. Client decision-making in terms of reproductive plans, therapeutic intervention, lifestyle behavior and sharing or withholding of genetic information frequently becomes enmeshed with preexisting psycho-social relationships among biological kin, affinal kin (in-laws) and fictive kin (friends who act as family). The CEGRM makes it easier to compare different types of social interactions between the client and his/her significant others and among family members on the same dimensions.