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Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 169–178 | Cite as

Understanding the Experience of Myotonic Dystrophy. Mixed Method Study

  • Amy Østertun GeirdalEmail author
  • Inger Lund-Petersen
  • Arvid Heiberg
Original Research

Abstract

Myotonic Dystrophy (DM) is a progressive multi-systemic disorder characterized by myotonia and muscle weakness where currently no effective treatment or cure to prevent or delay the disorder exists. This study used mixed methods to examine the experience of living with DM, in patients and their close relatives. Thirteen patients and eight next of kin responded completing Quality of Life and Psychological distress questionnaires in this cross-sectional study, and participating in a semi-structured interview. The findings indicate a higher level of anxiety and hopelessness in next of kin compared to patients, while patients were more depressed. Next of kin reported higher physical, but lower emotional quality of life than patients. Qualitative interviews confirmed the questionnaire findings. The findings from this study may be helpful in genetic counseling. Genetic counselors and geneticists should not only be aware of the burden of being a next of kin, but include discussions about opportunities to minimize the burden in families affected with DM. The findings may be of relevance in counseling for other types of neuromuscular disorders.

Keywords

Psychological distress Quality of life Myotonic dystrophy Next of kin Mixed method Genetic counseling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to statistician, Milada Cvancarova Småstuen for good and useful discussions and to Professor Michael Seltzer for correcting to the manuscript based in his own native English.

Conflict of Interest

Author Amy Østertun Geirdal, Author Inger Lund-Petersen and Author Arvid Heiberg declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation, Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REC) in Norway and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients and next of kin for being included in the study.

Animal Studies

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://doi.org/creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy Østertun Geirdal
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Inger Lund-Petersen
    • 2
  • Arvid Heiberg
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesOslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesOsloNorway
  2. 2.Centre for Congenital Neuromuscular DiseaseOslo University Hospital, RikshospitaletOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Medical GeneticsOslo University Hospital, RikshospitaletOsloNorway

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