Distress and psychiatric morbidity among women from high-risk breast and ovarian cancer families

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Oct;68(5):864-74.


This study assessed psychological distress and psychiatric disorder in high-risk women enrolled in a hereditary breast and ovarian cancer registry, and it evaluated the concordance between self-report data and interview-based psychiatric diagnosis. A sample of 464 women completed the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 and were interviewed using modules of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Level of psychological distress and the prevalence of psychiatric disorder were low and in the range that would be expected for a sample of community-residing women. Screening proved inefficient: Less than 10% of distressed women met criteria for a clinical disorder. High-risk women seeking genetic testing in research settings may not require extensive psychological screening and diagnostic assessment. Caution is expressed about possible self-selection biases in women enrolled in hereditary cancer registries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Registries
  • Selection Bias
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology