Conveying Genetic Risk to Teenagers

  • Isaac M. Lipkus
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)


With the mapping of the human genome and the rapid discovery and application of new technologies, recent years have brought about unprecedented advances in genetics and genomics, the latter being defined as “the study not just of single genes, but of the functions and interactions of all the genes in the genome” (Guttmacher & Collins, 2002, p. 1512). In the foreseeable future, it is expected that predictive genetic tests will be available for as many as a dozen common conditions (Collins & McKusick, 2001). For example, strides have been made in the discovery of genetic and genomic markers for such diseases as asthma, diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease (Altshuler et al., 2000; Bell, 2004; Bottini, Musumeci, Alonso, Rahmouni, Nika et al., 2004; Malerba & Pignatti, 2005; Ober & Hoffjan, 2006; Palma, Ristori, Ricevuto, Giannini, & Gulino, 2006; Sogaard, Kjaer, & Gayther, 2006; Wooster et al., 1994). Results of genetic testing for these common disorders will be used to inform, often in individuals with family histories of the disorder, their chance of developing the disease and as a consequence what steps can be taken, if any, to minimize or eliminate future harm.


Genetic Testing Risk Communication Risk Information Nicotine Addiction Optimistic Bias 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Writing of this chapter was supported by NIH grants R01CA114389 and R01CA121922. I thank Dr. Rochelle Schwartz-Bloom for her comments on science education and ideas as to how to use a science education approach to help adolescents understand processes of nicotine addiction. I thank Dr. Valerie Reyna for her discussions with me concerning conveying risk to adolescents.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isaac M. Lipkus
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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