Short-Term Psychological Impact of Predictive Testing for Machado-Joseph Disease: Depression and Anxiety Levels in Individuals at Risk from the Azores (Portugal)Gonzalez C. · Lima M. · Kay T. · Silva C. · Santos C. · Santos J.
Departments of aPsychiatry and bNeurology, Hospital of Divino Espirito Santo, and cCenter of Research in Natural Resources, University of the Azores, Ponta Delgada, dDepartment of Clinical Genetics, Hospital of D. Estefania, Lisboa, and eDepartment of Anthropology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Objective: The short-term impact of the pre-symptomatic genetic test (PT) for Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) in the Azores (Portuguese Islands) was assessed in 46 individuals at risk who completed the PT Program. Methods: Scores for depression and anxiety were used as indicators of the subjects’ emotional status immediately before the PT and 1 year after disclosure of the results. Results: Global levels of participation in the Azorean PT Program for MJD were high (20.7%), particularly in Flores Island (35.8%). For the total sample, mean scores of depression and anxiety before and after the PT presented without clinical significance. No differences were found for depression and anxiety scores before and after the PT. Furthermore, when grouped by test results (carriers/non-carriers), there were no differences between pre- and post-test levels. Conclusions: Results indicate that the test result did not cause a decrease in the psychological well-being of the individuals tested. The high number of participants performing the PT in the small and isolated community of Flores Island, where MJD represents a source of stigma, was interpreted as an indication that in this particular population the PT offers the individuals at risk the possibility of liberating from a stigma, and, hence, from exclusion.
Manuela Lima, PhD
Department of Biology
University of the Azores
PT–9500 Ponta Delgada, Azores (Portugal)
Tel. +351 296 650 118, Fax +351 296 650 100, E-Mail email@example.com
Number of Print Pages : 6
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 22
Vol. 7, No. 4, Year 2004 (Cover Date: Released January 2004)
Journal Editor: L.P. ten Kate, Amsterdam
ISSN: 1422–2795 (print), 1422–2833 (Online)
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