21st Century model of healthcare focuses on the family before and after genetic testing

February 24, 2005

An article in the recent issue of Family Process presents the family-centered model created to guide the psychological and social implications of genetic testing. The rapidly growing availability of genetic testing to learn about future disease risk poses a number of clinical and ethical dilemmas for patients, their families and healthcare professionals. "The need for a family-based approach that deals with the psychosocial consequences of acquiring and living with genetic information has never been more urgent," state the authors. Living with genetic risk information often continues for a lifetime. To meet this challenge, biopsychosocial models of healthcare will need to shift from a focus on intervention after disease onset to more predictive and preventive approaches before symptoms appear.

The model clusters genomic disorders based on key characteristics that define types of disorders with similar patterns of psychosocial demands over time. Key disease variables include: the likelihood of developing a disorder based on specific genetic mutations, overall clinical severity, timing of clinical-onset in the life cycle, and whether effective treatment interventions exist to alter disease onset and/or progression.

This model is published in the current issue of Family Process. Media wishing to receive a pdf of this article please contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net

Family Process is an international, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal committed to publishing original articles, including theory and practice, philosophical underpinnings, qualitative and quantitative clinical research, and training in couple and family therapy, family interaction, and family relationships with networks and larger systems. It is published on behalf of the Family Process Institute.

John S. Rolland is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director of the Center for Family Health at the University of Chicago and its affiliate post-graduate family and couples therapy training institute the Chicago Center for Family Health.

Dr. Rolland is available for questions.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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