The study find that the genetic information might have negative psychosocial effects. Therefore Anxiety, depression, disrupted relationships, and heightened stigmatization have all been posited as possible outcomes but not consistently found. But A new special report published by The Hastings Center explores this question. It considers the ways in which the prediction of adverse consequences has not been borne out by empirical research and also the limits of those data.
The genetic information
Given that today’s genomic information is more voluminous and complex than the results that were at issue in the older studies; it is not likely that simple answers will be forthcoming to the question of the psychosocial impacts of receiving genetic or genomic information. Rather; because the answers are depend on factors that include the condition being test for; the reason for the testing, the social context of the testing; and the psychology of the individual being test.
“Just coming to better understanding why one-size-fits-all answers will not be forthcoming is itself progress;” states the introduction to the report, written by its editors; Erik Parens, a senior research scholar at The Hastings Center, and Paul Appelbaum, the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law; and director of the Center for Law, Ethics and Psychiatry at Columbia University; who is a Hastings Center Fellow.
The Psychosocial Impacts
The special report, “Looking for the Psychosocial Impacts of Genetic Information;” is the product of a conference of the same name held at Columbia University in February 2018 and cosponsored by Columbia’s Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social Implications of Psychiatric; Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics and The Hastings Center.
The report is divide into three parts, each with three essays. The first part examines the historical and social context for current debates about research on the impacts of communication genetic information to patients. Therefore The second part focuses on studies that are skeptical about the existence of large psychosocial harms. In one of the essays, “Assessing the Psychological Impact of Genetic Susceptibility Testing,” Scott Roberts discusses the findings of a major study that found that people who learned that they had a variant of the ApoE4 gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease did not show elevated signs of depression or anxiety.
The historical and social
However, Roberts also recognizes that there’s much that is not know about the psychosocial effects of ApoE4 testing, and cites evidence that people who learn of a positive result show worse performance on memory tests. But The third part is devote to studies that support reasons for continued concern about harms from genetic testing. One of the essays, “Actions and Uncertainty.