J Genet Couns. 2014 Oct 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Family Communication in a Population at Risk for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
Encouraging family communication is an integral component of genetic counseling; therefore, we sought to identify factors impacting communication to family members at risk for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). Participants (N = 383) completed an online survey assessing: 1) demographics (gender, genetic test results, HCM family history, and disease severity); 2) illness representations; 3) family functioning and cohesiveness; 4) coping styles; 5) comprehension of HCM autosomal dominant inheritance; and 6) communication of HCM risk information to at-risk relatives. Participants were a national sample of individuals with HCM, recruited through the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. Data from 183 participants were analyzed using a logistic regression analysis, with family communication as a dichotomous dependent variable. We found that female gender and higher comprehension of autosomal dominant inheritance were significant predictors of participants' communication of HCM risk information to all their siblings and children. Our results suggest that utilizing interventions that promote patient comprehension (e.g., a teaching-focused model of genetic counseling) are important and may positively impact family communication within families with HCM.
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