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. 2015 Mar;87(3):218-24.
doi: 10.1111/cge.12415. Epub 2014 May 22.

Evaluating a Unique, Specialist Psychiatric Genetic Counseling Clinic: Uptake and Impact

Free PMC article

Evaluating a Unique, Specialist Psychiatric Genetic Counseling Clinic: Uptake and Impact

A Inglis et al. Clin Genet. .
Free PMC article


People with psychiatric disorders and their family members have expressed interest in receiving genetic counseling (GC). In February 2012, we opened the first (to our knowledge) specialist psychiatric GC clinic of its kind, for individuals with non-syndromic psychiatric disorders and their families. Prior to GC and at a standard 1-month follow-up session, clinical assessment tools are completed, specifically, the GC outcomes scale (GCOS, which measures empowerment, completed by all clients) and the Illness Management Self Efficacy scale (IMSES, completed by those with mental illness). Consecutive English-speaking clients attending the clinic between 1 February 2012 and 31 January 2013 who were capable of consenting were asked for permission to use their de-identified clinical data for research purposes. Descriptive analyses were conducted to ascertain demographic details of attendees, and paired sample t-tests were conducted to assess changes in GCOS and IMSES scores from pre- to post-GC. Of 143 clients, seven were unable to consent, and 75/136 (55.1%) consented. Most were female (85.3%), self-referred (76%), and had personal experience of mental illness (65.3%). Mean GCOS and IMSES scores increased significantly after GC (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.011, respectively). In a naturalistic setting, GC increases empowerment and self-efficacy in this population.

Keywords: bipolar disorder; depression; empowerment; genetic counseling; mental illness; psychiatric disorders; schizophrenia; self-efficacy.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement

AI provides genetic counseling in the context of the clinic described. All other authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that might bias the work.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Mental illness diagnoses amongst those with a personal history of mental illness who attended the psychiatric genetic counseling clinic
49 participants had a personal history of mental illness. Of these, 39 reported a single diagnosis, and 10 reported more than one diagnosis. Of the latter, 9 reported two diagnoses and 1 reported four diagnoses.
Figure 2
Figure 2. GCOS and IMSES Scores before (T1) and after (T2) GC
The IMSES was completed by those with personal history of mental illness only. The GCOS data shown are those from the whole sample combined. When it was not possible to gather family history data in advance of the GC appointment, GCOS/ISMES was not completed at T1, due to time limitations. Not all participants could be reached for T2, or declined to complete the questionnaire at this time-point. For the IMSES, some participants did not identify as having a personal history of psychiatric illness at T1 until rapport had been established during the GC appointment (which precluded the completion of the questionnaire at T1), or would identify as having e.g. depression or anxiety but would decline to complete the ISMES as they did not feel it related to them at their present point of recovery. IMSES mean scores are square transformed.

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