Predictors of psychological distress among individuals with a strong family history of malignant melanoma

Nadine A. Kasparian*, B. Meiser, P. N. Butow, J. M. Simpson, G. J. Mann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite rapid advancements in molecular genetics research, little is known about the psychological experiences of individuals with a family history of melanoma. The present study aimed to identify factors contributing to psychological distress among affected and unaffected individuals with a strong family history of melanoma. A total of 121 adults who had recently been informed of the identification of a family- specific mutation in the CDKN2A melanoma susceptibility gene, completed a self-report questionnaire assessing cancer-specific and generalized distress, and a variety of potential predictors. Having a personal history of melanoma (OR = 3.37, p = 0.033), perceiving greater family implications of melanoma (OR = 2.52, p < 0.0001), and the tendency to monitor for threatening information (OR = 3.12, p = 0.008) were associated with melanoma-specific distress. Being childless (β = 2.09, p = 0.007), perceiving sun exposure as an important cause of melanoma (β = 1.15, p = 0.015), and perceiving greater family implications of melanoma (β = 1.02, p = 0.002) were associated with greater generalized anxiety, while monitoring moderated the relationship between endorsement of a genetic model of melanoma and generalized anxiety (p = 0.005). As in other common familial cancers, distress was relatively uncommon in this familial melanoma cohort, even after notification of the presence of a family mutation. Participants do not contemplate their melanoma risk in isolation, but evaluate their risk vis-à-vis the experiences of their relatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Genetics
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Causal attributions
  • Depression
  • Family history
  • Melanoma
  • Psychological adjustment

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