Familial Cancer

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 195–206 | Cite as

Measurement of psychological factors associated with genetic testing for hereditary breast, ovarian and colon cancers

  • Susan T. Vadaparampil
  • Mary Ropka
  • Michael E. Stefanek


Despite numerous individual studies of psychological factors (depression, anxiety, distress) related to genetic testing for inherited cancer syndromes (CGT), there has been no systematic review of the psychological factors are measured among individuals at increased risk for hereditary breast, ovarian, or colon cancer. Our review provides an analysis of psychological factors in studies of CGT and discusses the instruments most commonly used to measure them. We performed a literature search using three major OVID databases from 1993 to January 2003. In the 19 studies that met our inclusion criteria, the most commonly assessed psychological factors were distress, anxiety, and depression. These factors were most often measured by the impact of event scale (IES), the state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI), and the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies and Depression scale (CES-D), respectively. Our results show deficits in the existing body of literature on psychological factors associated with CGT including limited documentation of psychometrics and variability in instrumentation.


anxiety cancer genetic testing (CGT) depression distress psychological factors psychometrics 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan T. Vadaparampil
    • 1
  • Mary Ropka
    • 2
  • Michael E. Stefanek
    • 3
  1. 1.H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research InstituteTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Evaluation SciencesUniversity of Virginia School of Medicine, & University of Virginia School of NursingCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Division of Cancer Control and Population ScienceNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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