Familial effects of BRCA1 genetic mutation testing: changes in perceived family functions
This study expands recent research that examines how the receipt of BRCA1 genetic test results affects family adaptability and cohesion one year after genetic risk notification. Study participants were members of a large Utah-based kindred with an identified mutation at the BRCA1 locus. The final sample, 90 men and 132 women, contributed information prior to genetic testing (baseline) and 4 months and/or 1 year after receipt of genetic test results. After controlling for other factors such as family coping resources (F-COPES) and strains (F-STRAIN), and the tested individual’s anxiety levels prior to genetic testing (SAS), men and women reported significant declines in family cohesion one year after genetic risk notification (p<.01). Compared to non-carriers, carrier men reported increasing adaptability one year after risk notification (+0.21 points per month, p<.10). Having a carrier sister seemed to have a positive influence on women’s perceived family cohesion and adaptability levels, while a personal history of cancer, having a great deal of caregiving involvement for a female relative with cancer, anxiety, and some types of coping resources had a negative impact on men’s perceived family cohesion and adaptability levels. Although results showed that tested parents are perceiving a decline in family functioning after genetic risk notification, there is no evidence to suggest that the decline is due to carrier status. In fact, it is other life circumstances which exist at the time of the genetic testing process that seem to influence the degree to which families adjust to the experience and test results.
University of Utah
Family functioning; Family cohesion; Family adaptability; Genetic testing; BRCA1;
Human chromosome abnormalities, Diagnosis; Domestic relations
Stroup, A. M., & Smith, K. R. (2006). Familial effects of BRCA1 Genetic Mutation Testing: Changes in Perceived Family Functions. Institute of Public and International Affairs(IPIA), 1, 1-29.
Institute of Public and International Affairs Working Papers
(c) Antoinette M. Stroup, Ph.D. and Ken R. Smith, Ph.D.