Subjective Cognitive Concerns and Attitudes toward Genetic Testing Are Associated with Depressive Symptoms and Quality of Life after Genetic Testing for the Cerebral Cavernous Malformation Common Hispanic Mutation (CCM1)

J Behav Brain Sci. 2020 Feb;10(2):118-127. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2020.102007. Epub 2020 Feb 25.


Purpose: This study aimed to characterize mood and quality of life and to examine the associations of these areas with subjective cognitive concerns and attitudes toward genetic testing for the Common Hispanic Mutation, a gene that has been associated with increased risk for CCM1.

Method: Fifty-four adults with previous genetic testing for the Common Hispanic Mutation completed a mail survey that included assessments of the above identified areas.

Results: Self-reported depressive symptoms and quality of life did not differ between those with positive and negative genetic test results. The negative group expressed a more favorable attitude toward genetic testing (p < 0.001). There was a trend toward more subjective cognitive concerns in the positive group (p = 0.06). Using generalized linear regression, more subjective cognitive concerns were associated with poorer quality of life and more depressive symptoms (p < 0.001). Poorer attitude toward genetic testing was also associated with poorer quality of life (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Subjective cognitive concerns and negative attitudes toward genetic testing may influence emotional well-being after genetic testing for the Common Hispanic Mutation. Additional research is needed that uses objective neuropsychological measures to understand the associations of subjective cognitive concerns, emotional well-being, and cognitive test performance in individuals with CCM1. There is also a need for research that focuses on protective factors and resiliency following genetic testing for CCM1 and the development of mental health interventions to preempt psychosocial difficulties.

Keywords: Depression; Genetic Testing; Quality of Life; Subjective Cognitive Concerns.