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Research in Genetic Counseling 

Research in Genetic Counseling
Chapter:
Research in Genetic Counseling
Author(s):

Barbara B. Biesecker

, Kathryn F. Peters

, and Robert Resta

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190626426.003.0010
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date: 30 March 2020

The field of genetic counseling has historically valued the role of research. More recently, graduate programs have raised the standards for student thesis projects so that a greater percent are of publishable quality. The profession has acknowledged key research gaps, such as a lack of consensus on the primary client outcomes of counseling. Further, the National Society of Genetic Counselors has endorsed the importance of evidence that may be used to guide practice. Herein we present the role of genetic counselors as researchers and discuss approaches to designing research studies to answer key service delivery questions and patient-reported outcomes. To frame research in genetic counseling, health behavior and social psychology theories offer models for identifying key variables likely to predict client decisions and their outcomes. To date, studies in genetic counseling have been framed by the self-regulation model and the theory of planned behavior. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials in genetic counseling identified psychological well-being and gain in knowledge as the most prevalent patient outcomes. Evidence can be used to predict decisions to undergo genetic testing or follow up on results.

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