The Cancer Worry Scale Revised for Breast Cancer Genetic Counseling

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Abstract

Background:

The Cancer Worry Scale was revised to be used in breast cancer genetic counseling (CWS-GC). This scale is used to identify dimensions that are relevant in the genetic counseling context, such as worry about developing breast cancer, impact of worries on daily life, and risk perception in women attending a counseling session for BRCA1/2 mutations.

Objective:

The aim of this study was to estimate the psychometric properties of the CWS-GC in a sample of Italian women.

Methods:

A total of 304 women aged 19 to 90 years, 58% with history and 42% with no history of breast or ovarian cancer, participated in the study. Validity, reliability, and sensitivity to change of the CWS-GC were assessed.

Results:

Confirmatory factor analysis suggested a 2-factor structure of the CWS-GC measuring cancer worry and risk perception and with Cronbach’s α coefficients of .90 and .70, respectively. Criterion validity was attested by substantial yet not overlapping correlations with anxiety and fear of medical procedures. In a subsample of 50 women, test-retest reliability at a 4-week interval ranged from 0.70 to 0.87, and the CWS-GC was able to detect small to medium changes 1 month after genetic counseling.

Conclusions:

Overall, the CWS-GC showed good psychometric characteristics in this population.

Implications for Practice:

The CWS-GC would be appropriate for use by healthcare professionals to better understand how women react and adapt to information on genetic cancer risk to provide them with emotional support and encourage surveillance behaviors.

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