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Mental Illness and BRCA1/2 Genetic Testing Intention Among Multiethnic Women Undergoing Screening Mammography

Tarsha Jones

Katherine Freeman

Marra Ackerman

Meghna S. Trivedi

Thomas Silverman

Peter Shapiro

Rita Kukafka

Katherine D. Crew

mental illness, BRCA1/2, genetic testing, multiethnic women, mammography
ONF 2020, 47(1), E13-E24. DOI: 10.1188/20.ONF.E13-E24

Objectives: To examine associations between patient-reported mental illness diagnosis and symptoms and BRCA1/2 genetic testing intention among women undergoing screening mammography.

Sample & Setting: 100 multiethnic women of lower socioeconomic status who were undergoing mammography screening and met family history criteria for BRCA1/2 genetic testing.

Methods & Variables: Descriptive and bivariate nonparametric statistics and multivariate logistic regression were used to examine associations between mental illness and genetic testing intention. Variables were anxiety, depression, patient-reported mental illness diagnosis and symptoms, and testing intention.

Results: Prevalence rates of mental illness symptoms were 36% for clinically significant depression and 36% for anxiety. Although 76% of participants intended to undergo genetic testing, only 5% had completed testing. History of mental illness and elevated levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms were positively correlated with testing intention in the bivariate analysis. In multivariate analysis, only younger age and less education were associated with testing intention.

Implications for Nursing: Future studies should address psychosocial needs and other competing barriers at the patient, provider, and healthcare system levels to increase access to BRCA1/2 genetic testing among multiethnic women.

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