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Vol. 13, No. 1, 2010
Issue release date: September 2009
Section title: Original Paper
Public Health Genomics 2010;13:21–26

Exploring Genetic Counselors’ Perceptions of and Attitudes towards Schizophrenia

Monaco L.C.a · Conway L.a · Valverde K.a · Austin J.C.b
aGenetic Counseling Program, Arcadia University, Glenside, Pa., USA; bUniversity of British Columbia, Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
email Corresponding Author

Jehannine C. Austin

University of British Columbia, Rm A3-112, 3rd Floor

Translational Lab Building, CFRI, 938 W 28th Ave

Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4 (Canada)

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Schizophrenia is a common complex condition, for which no genetic testing is yet clinically available. Genetic counseling for psychiatric disorders is viewed by genetic counselors as a growth area, and to meet any increase in demand it is important to understand existing context. Thus, we surveyed general practice members of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, to examine perceptions and attitudes relating to schizophrenia. A total of 136 genetic counselors completed the survey, of whom 50% were engaged in general practice roles and therefore eligible to participate. Of these, 40% reported ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ asking about psychiatric illness when taking a family history. Some respondents expressed concern that discussing genetics of schizophrenia and providing risk assessment with families may be more confusing or worrisome than helpful. Many counselors reported that patients feel frustrated with the inability of genetic counselors to provide individual risk calculations. It appears that genetic counselors are reluctant to ask patients about psychiatric illness, and are concerned that their services might not be helpful in the context of schizophrenia.

© 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 9/30/2008
Accepted: 1/20/2009
Published online: 3/26/2009

Number of Print Pages: 6
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 1662-4246 (Print)
eISSN: 1662-8063 (Online)

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