148169 Social relationships and family characteristics associated with change in depression scores after receiving genetic counseling and testing among family members at risk for Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sato Ashida, PhD , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH, Bethesda, MD
Donald W. Hadley, MS, CGC , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH, Bethesda, MD
Brandon K. Vaughn, PhD , Educational Psychology Department, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Natalia R. Kuhn, MPH , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH, Bethesda, MD
Jean F. Jenkins, PhD, RN, FAAN , Office of the Director, National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH, Bethesda, MD
Laura M. Koehly, PhD , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH, Bethesda, MD
Interest among health professionals as well as the public concerning use of genetic information in primary prevention efforts has increased rapidly during recent years. As genetic information accumulates, its population based application will increase. While genetic information can bring great benefit by allowing professionals to provide tailored education, it may also have unanticipated psychological effects because of its high perceived predictive nature. It is critical that health professionals understand the impact of genetic information on recipients and prevent unwanted effects.

Because genetic susceptibility is entwined with family systems, genetic counseling often involves multiple family members. Therefore, provision of genetic information is likely to influence social relationships among family members. Epidemiological evidence has shown an association between changes in social relationships and mental health.

Participants in this study received genetic counseling and testing (when appropriate) due to the identified mutation in a HNPCC gene within their family. Information on demographics, family relationships, coping and life orientation styles, and depression was obtained before, and 6 and 12 months after counseling.

Preliminary results (130 individuals from 26 families) show that negative change in perceived family relationships at 6-months (i.e., lower cohesion, higher conflict) was associated with increase in depression scores at 12-months. This suggests the possible benefit of intervening upon family relationships after counseling. Additional analyses showed that family characteristics assessed at baseline (i.e., family trends in coping, life orientation) were associated with change in perceived family relationships at 6 months. Implications for communication of genetic risk information to families will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the session, participants will be able to: 1. Discuss possible impact of genetic information on recipientsí mental health. 2. Identify the factors associated with changes in social relationships among family members after genetic counseling. 3. Discuss possible ways for health professionals to intervene after the counseling to positively influence the impact of genetic information on family relationships.

Keywords: Genetics, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.