Factors associated with an individuals' decision to withdraw from genetic counseling for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes mutations: are personality traits involved?

Fam Cancer. 2011 Sep;10(3):581-9. doi: 10.1007/s10689-011-9454-x.


The aim of the study was to evaluate factors associated with early withdrawal from oncogenetic counseling. A comparison of psycho-social and personality characteristics of two samples of subjects, attendees and withdrawers was carried out. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 112 individuals who had completed counseling and to 56 individuals who withdrew from it. Individuals with few children (OR. 1,724; p = 0,017; CI = 1,101-2,700), a lower number of cancer affected relatives (OR. 1,301; p = 0,000; CI = 1,145-1,479), and with a lower hypomanic scale score (OR. 1,070; p = 0,004; CI = 1,022-1,121), were more likely to withdraw from counseling. It is important for the counselees to draw more attention to the fact that their cancer risk management and prevention is as fundamental as that of their children. Also, it is important to highlight the fact that having less cancer affected relatives does not necessarily mean being at lower risk. In conclusion, that subjects with low levels of psychological and emotional energy are those who probably need greater psychological support during the decision making process. We deem necessary that psychologists, involved in genetic counseling, investigate these aspects during their sessions in order to implement suitable interventions of psychological support during the entire counseling process.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling / psychology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Personality / genetics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human