This is the first article in a two part series about utilizing the life course perspective (LCP) in genetic counseling. LCP can be a useful tool for genetic counselors when counseling people with a known genetic mutation. Previous theories such as Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) and Common Sense Model of Self-Regulation (CSMSR) examine current reactions to a positive genetic test result. LCP extends beyond the current time to explore temporal and contextual elements of the experience. A review of research revealed, LCP has been used to study the perspective of caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease, referral for a family history of breast cancer, Mexican American caregivers of older adult, social class and cancer incidence and cancer and the sense of mastery. Incorporating LCP into a study explaining the experiences of people living with a positive test result for a genetic mutation such as the BRCA mutation provides a comprehensive exploration of this experience.
Keywords: Life course perspective; Longitudinal study; Qualitative research; Theory development.