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Open AccessArticle

Psychological Distress and Coping Ability of Women at High Risk of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer before Undergoing Genetic Counseling—An Exploratory Study from Germany

1
Department of Human Genetics, Hanover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany
2
Department of Journalism and Communication Research, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, 30175 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equally contributed.
Academic Editors: Grazyna Jasienska and Giulia Frisso
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4338; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084338
Received: 2 February 2021 / Revised: 19 March 2021 / Accepted: 15 April 2021 / Published: 19 April 2021
Carriers of pathogenic variants causing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) are confronted with a high risk to develop malignancies early in life. The present study aimed to determine the type of psychological distress and coping ability in women with a suspicion of HBOC. In particular, we were interested if the self-assessed genetic risk had an influence on health concerns and coping ability. Using a questionnaire established by the German HBOC Consortium, we investigated 255 women with breast cancer and 161 healthy women before they were seen for genetic counseling. The group of healthy women was divided into groups of high and low self-assessed risk. In our study, healthy women with a high self-assessed risk stated the highest stress level and worries about their health and future. A quarter of the women requested psychological support. Overall, only few women (4–11%) stated that they did not feel able to cope with the genetic test result. More women (11–23%, highest values in the low-risk group) worried about the coping ability of relatives. The results of our exploratory study demonstrate that the women, who presented at the Department of Human Genetics, Hanover Medical School, Germany were aware of their genetic risk and had severe concerns about their future health, but still felt able to cope with the genetic test result. View Full-Text
Keywords: psychological distress; coping ability; genetic counseling; risk assessment; hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) psychological distress; coping ability; genetic counseling; risk assessment; hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vajen, B.; Rosset, M.; Wallaschek, H.; Baumann, E.; Schlegelberger, B. Psychological Distress and Coping Ability of Women at High Risk of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer before Undergoing Genetic Counseling—An Exploratory Study from Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4338. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084338

AMA Style

Vajen B, Rosset M, Wallaschek H, Baumann E, Schlegelberger B. Psychological Distress and Coping Ability of Women at High Risk of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer before Undergoing Genetic Counseling—An Exploratory Study from Germany. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(8):4338. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084338

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vajen, Beate; Rosset, Magdalena; Wallaschek, Hannah; Baumann, Eva; Schlegelberger, Brigitte. 2021. "Psychological Distress and Coping Ability of Women at High Risk of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer before Undergoing Genetic Counseling—An Exploratory Study from Germany" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 8: 4338. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084338

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