Familial Cancer

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 159–165 | Cite as

Factors associated with intrusive cancer-related worries in women undergoing cancer genetic risk assessment

  • Paul Bennett
  • Clare Wilkinson
  • Jim Turner
  • Rhiannon Tudor Edwards
  • Barbara France
  • Gethin Griffin
  • Jonathon Gray


One hundred and twenty-eight women undergoing assessment for genetic risk of breast/ovarian cancer completed questionnaires at entry into the assessment process and following risk provision. The key variable of interest was the level of intrusive worries at each time, and factors associated with the level of intrusive worries following risk provision. Based on the CARA model (Renner, Pers Soc Psychol Bull 30:384–396, 2004), it was expected that an unexpected risk assessment (whether good or bad) would result in high levels of intrusive thoughts. Other potential moderators of worry included neuroticism, level of threat experienced (low control, high perceived risk), the use of differing coping efforts, and the available social support. Of note was that while levels of intrusive thoughts fell in all risk groups following risk provision, unexpectedly only women found to be at population risk reported an increase of active attempts to distract from intrusive worries at this time. The CARA model was not supported. However, intrusion scores were independently associated with higher levels of neuroticism, a lack of confidant support, and a confrontive coping response. Active avoidance scores were uniquely associated with being assigned as population risk, neuroticism, lack of confidant and affective support, and the use of avoidant coping. Together, these variables accounted for 33% of the variance in intrusion scores and 31% of the variance in avoidance scores. The implications of these findings is discussed.


Genetic Risk assessment Coping Worry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Bennett
    • 1
  • Clare Wilkinson
    • 2
  • Jim Turner
    • 2
  • Rhiannon Tudor Edwards
    • 3
  • Barbara France
    • 2
  • Gethin Griffin
    • 4
  • Jonathon Gray
    • 5
  1. 1.Nursing, Health and Social Care Research CentreUniversity of CardiffCardiffUK
  2. 2.Department of Primary Care and Public HealthUniversity of CardiffCardiffUK
  3. 3.University of WalesBangorUK
  4. 4.Brunel UniversityUxbridgeUK
  5. 5.Institute of Medical GeneticsCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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