Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 384–393

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

Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10897-008-9159-y

Cite this article as:
Geirdal, A.Ø. & Dahl, A.A. J Genet Counsel (2008) 17: 384. doi:10.1007/s10897-008-9159-y


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.


Psychological distress Personality traits Familial cancer 

Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical GeneticsRikshospitalet University HospitalOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Cancer ResearchThe Norwegian Radium Hospital, Rikshospitalet University HospitalOsloNorway
  3. 3.Faculty Division The Norwegian RadiumhospitalUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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