Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 693–712 | Cite as

Assessment of Psychosocial Outcomes in Genetic Counseling Research: An Overview of Available Measurement Scales

  • Nadine A. Kasparian
  • Claire E. Wakefield
  • Bettina Meiser
Professional Issues


The aim of the present paper was to describe and evaluate many of the measurement scales currently used in genetic counseling outcomes research. A team of three researchers reviewed the available literature and selected a variety of validated instruments suitable for measurement of genetic counseling outcomes. There are numerous scales to assess each of the following outcomes among counselees: satisfaction with genetic counseling; knowledge; decision-making; psychological adjustment; coping; perceived personal control; perceptions of disease risk; and family communication about genetic risk. However, the strengths and limitations inherent to each instrument warrant careful consideration prior to implementation. In the genetic counseling context, scale selection should be undertaken with thought directed towards the characteristics of the research sample (e.g. levels of literacy, culture, medical condition), the practicalities of the research setting (e.g. available funding and resources, time restrictions, researcher expertise), the purpose of the research (i.e. the specific aspect of the genetic counseling experience to be studied), and the science underlying the scale (e.g. theoretical framework, psychometric properties).


Genetic counseling Psychological outcomes Client satisfaction Decision-making Distress Perceived risk Family communication 



We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Clara Gaff, for her valuable input into the development of this manuscript. We are also grateful to Dr. Alison Rutstein, for administrative support. Nadine Kasparian is supported by a Program Grant for Excellence in Translational Research from the Cancer Institute NSW. Claire Wakefield is supported by a Cancer Council of NSW Strategic Research Partnership (STREP) Grant (ID SRP 06-X5). Bettina Meiser is supported by a Career Development Award from The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (ID 350989).


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadine A. Kasparian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claire E. Wakefield
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bettina Meiser
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychosocial Research Group, Department of Medical OncologyPrince of Wales HospitalRandwickAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychiatryUniversity of NSWRandwickAustralia

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