Communicating risk information in genetic counseling: An observational study

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42 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates risk communication within genetic counselling. Transcripts of 115 U.K. genetic consultations were reliably coded into form of risk expression used, whether the patient responded with understanding and agreement or showed signs of misunderstanding or disagreement, or did not respond at all, and whether clinicians assessed patient comprehension. Of the 492 risk expressions used, 53% were words and 47% were numbers (32% probabilities and 15% percentages). There was no association between form of risk expression and response. Clinicians assessed comprehension on only 25% of occasions, less often following the use of words than numbers, and on only 9% of occasions when there was no response to their risk communication. Because patients did not respond to 43% of risk communications, there is a concern that patients may make decisions without understanding the risks involved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2005


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