Attitudes to genetic testing in families with multiple cases of bipolar disorder

Bettina Meiser*, Nadine A. Kasparian, Philip B. Mitchell, Kimberly Strong, Judy M. Simpson, Laila Tabassum, Shab Mireskandari, Peter R. Schofield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: This study assesses interest in genetic testing for gene variations associated with bipolar disorder and associated information needs. Methods: Two hundred individuals (95 unaffected and 105 affected with either bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder - manic type, or recurrent major depression) from families with multiple cases of bipolar disorder were assessed, using mailed, self-administered questionnaires. Results: The percentage of participants reporting interest in genetic testing was associated with the degree of certainty with which any test would indicate the development of bipolar disorder. Interest in genetic testing, given a 25% lifetime risk scenario, was lowest (with 77% of participants indicating interest), and highest for the 100% lifetime risk scenario (92%). Eighty percent of participants indicated interest in genetic testing of their own children; of these 30% reported wanting their children tested at birth, and 33% in early childhood. Forty-one percent of participants reported that they would be interested in preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and 54% in prenatal testing. Limitations: The possibility of ascertainment bias cannot be ruled out. Interest in hypothetical genetic testing for bipolar disorder may not necessarily translate into actual utilization. Conclusions: These results indicate that uptake of genetic testing for genotyping for low-risk alleles related to bipolar disorder is likely to be lower than for testing for high-penetrance gene mutations that follow Mendelian inheritance. The discrepancy between the desired age of testing children and the accepted current practice may be a source of distress and conflict for parents and health professionals alike.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalGenetic Testing
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

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