What's at stake? Genetic information from the perspective of people with epilepsy and their family members
Substantial progress has been made in identifying genes that raise risk for epilepsy, and genetic testing for some of these genes is increasingly being used in clinical practice. However, almost no empirical data are available from the perspective of people with epilepsy and their family members about the impact of genetic information and potential benefits and harms of genetic testing. To address this gap we conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 40 individuals (22 with epilepsy, 18 unaffected) in the USA from families containing multiple affected individuals who had participated in epilepsy genetics research. The interviews were coded and analyzed using the principles of grounded theory. Several major themes emerged from these interviews. Participants expressed "personal theories of inheritance" that emphasized commonalities among relatives and the idea that disease risk is most shared by family members who share physical or personality traits. Most participants said they would have genetic testing if it were offered. They cited many potential benefits, including learning what caused epilepsy in their family, being better able to care and advocate for children at risk, reducing guilt and blame, providing an increased sense of control, and relieving anxiety in unaffected individuals who test negative. The influence of genetic information on reproduction was a particularly salient theme. Although respondents believed genetic testing would be useful for informing their reproductive choices, they also expressed fear that it could lead to external pressures to modify these choices. Other concerns about the potential negative impact of genetic information included increased blame and guilt, increased stigma and discrimination in employment and insurance, self-imposed limitations on life goals, and alterations in fundamental conceptions of "what epilepsy is." Consideration of the perspectives of people with epilepsy and their family members is critical to understanding the implications of contemporary epilepsy genetic research and testing.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 73 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:5:p:645-654. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.