Is the psychological impact of genetic testing moderated by support and sharing of test results to family and friends?
- First Online:
Receiving the results of genetic tests for a breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility can be a stressful experience. Here we studied the effects of social support (SS) and the sharing of test results on the psychological impact of BRCA1/2 test result disclosure. We also compared carriers and non-carriers on sharing, SS and psychological impact. Five-hundred and twenty-two unaffected women were followed prospectively for 2 years after receiving their test results. Psychological impact was measured on the impact of event scale. Multivariate multi-level models were used, and all the analyses were stratified depending on mutation status (carriers vs non-carriers). Two weeks after receiving their BRCA1/2 results, carriers had shared their test results less frequently than non-carriers (p < 0.01). Sharing test results was not significantly associated with psychological impact. Availability of SS was significantly associated with better psychological adjustment across time among carriers (p < 0.01), but not among non-carriers. For female BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, the importance of SS should be stressed, and possible ways of enlisting people in their entourage for this purpose should be discussed in the context of clinical encounters.