Intended use of predictive testing by those at risk for Huntington disease

Am J Med Genet. 1987 Feb;26(2):283-93. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320260206.


Huntington disease (HD) is a late-onset genetic disorder that is incurable and undetectable until the onset of symptoms. A marker for the gene that causes HD was recently discovered that will lead to a predictive test. The purpose of this research was to assess the attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral intentions concerning the impending predictive test by those at risk for HD. Results from a sample of 56 at-risk individuals indicated that a majority (65%) favored using the presymptomatic test and would encourage their adult children to use it as well. Fewer but still a substantial percentage of respondents would use the prenatal test (42%) and would test at-risk minors (35%). Surprisingly, knowledge about predictive testing was quite low and a majority of those least knowledgeable about predictive testing intended to use the test. These findings emphasized the need for outreach and prevention efforts to prepare the at risk and specialized programs of genetic counseling and follow up to accompany predictive testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Behavior
  • Behavioral Research
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis*
  • Huntington Disease / genetics
  • Huntington Disease / psychology
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Minors
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Risk