Disclosing genetic risk for coronary heart disease: effects on perceived personal control and genetic counseling satisfaction

Clin Genet. 2016 Feb;89(2):251-7. doi: 10.1111/cge.12577. Epub 2015 Mar 23.


We investigated whether disclosure of coronary heart disease (CHD) genetic risk influences perceived personal control (PPC) and genetic counseling satisfaction (GCS). Participants (n = 207, age: 45-65 years) were randomized to receive estimated 10-year risk of CHD based on a conventional risk score (CRS) with or without a genetic risk score (GRS). Risk estimates were disclosed by a genetic counselor who also reviewed how GRS altered risk in those randomized to CRS+GRS. Each participant subsequently met with a physician and then completed surveys to assess PPC and GCS. Participants who received CRS+GRS had higher PPC than those who received CRS alone although the absolute difference was small (25.2 ± 2.7 vs 24.1 ± 3.8, p = 0.04). A greater proportion of CRS+GRS participants had higher GCS scores (17.3 ± 5.3 vs 15.9 ± 6.3, p = 0.06). In the CRS+GRS group, PPC and GCS scores were not correlated with GRS. Within both groups, PPC and GCS scores were similar in patients with or without family history (p = NS). In conclusion, patients who received their genetic risk of CHD had higher PPC and tended to have higher GCS. Our findings suggest that disclosure of genetic risk of CHD together with conventional risk estimates is appreciated by patients. Whether this results in improved outcomes needs additional investigation.

Keywords: clinical genetics; clinical trial; coronary heart disease; genetic counseling; genetic risk score; perceived personal control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires