Cancer Genetic Counseling: Communication and Counselees' Post-Visit Satisfaction, Cognitions, Anxiety, and Needs Fulfillment

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Little is known about the relation between communication during cancer genetic counseling and outcome. We assessed associations between counselor-counselee communication and counselee satisfaction, cognitions, anxiety, and fulfillment of major needs, corrected for pre-visit levels as appropriate. In total 171 consecutive new counselees, mainly referred for breast or colon cancer, received pre- and post-visit questionnaires assessing needs/fulfillment, knowledge, perceived control (PPC), anxiety (STAI), and satisfaction. Initial visits were videotaped and counselor eye gaze was recorded. Verbal communication was rated by Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS). Asking more medical questions was associated with lower satisfaction levels. Receiving more medical information was related to higher correct knowledge scores, higher reported fulfillment of some needs, and unrelated to perceptions of control. Receiving more psychosocial information and longer counselor eye gaze were related to higher anxiety scores. Longer visits were related to higher correct knowledge scores. Providing medical information appears the most powerful communication aspect to increase counselee satisfaction and address needs. More research is needed on how to address adequately (emotional) needs and increase feelings of control.

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