Effects of coping style and BRCA1 and BRCA2 test results on anxiety among women participating in genetic counseling and testing for breast and ovarian cancer risk

Health Psychol. 2001 May;20(3):217-22.


Using the monitoring process model (MPM), the authors examined the immediate effects of coping style and test results on the psychological distress of women at increased risk for breast and/or ovarian cancers. Cases selected for analysis were 107 probands and relatives of positive probands participating in genetic counseling and testing for heritable cancer risk. Specifically, the authors explored the relationships among coping style (high and low monitoring), test results (BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carrier and noncarrier status), and psychological distress (state anxiety). Consistent with the MPM, higher monitoring was associated with greater psychological distress while anticipating genetic test results. After test results were disclosed, greater distress was associated with testing positive for a mutation. The implications of the findings for breast and ovarian cancer patients are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis / methods
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1 / genetics*
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Point Mutation / genetics
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Transcription Factors