Guilt, blame and responsibility: men's understanding of their role in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their family


Hallowell, Nina, Ardern-Jones, Audrey, Eeles, Ros, Foster, Claire L., Lucassen, Anneke, Moynihan, Clare and Watson, Maggie (2006) Guilt, blame and responsibility: men's understanding of their role in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their family. Sociology of Health and Illness, 28, (7), 969-988. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2006.00515.x). (PMID:17163862).

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Description/Abstract

Men and women who have a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer may be offered a predictive genetic test to determine whether or not they carry the family specific BRCA1/2 mutation. The sons and daughters of mutation carriers have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting a mutation, which will increase their risk of developing cancer. Little is known about at-risk men's feelings about the part they play in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their families. This study investigated high risk men's responses to BRCA1/2 predictive genetic testing. Seventeen in-depth interviews were undertaken with carrier (n= 5) and non-carrier men (n= 12). All men described genetic testing as a familial duty. It is observed that carriers and non-carriers mobilised differing explanations about their role in the aetiology of risk. It is noted that men engage in a form of narrative reconstruction in which they draw upon discourses of guilt and blame or fate and predestiny in an effort to present themselves as morally responsible or blameless. It is argued that narrative reconstruction enables these men to reconcile their genetic identity, self and family.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0141-9889 (print)
1467-9566 (electronic)
Keywords: men, genetic testing, breast cancer, responsibility, narrative reconstruction
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > Superseded (SONM) > Superseded (CPE)
ePrint ID: 63987
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:45
Contact Email Address: Nina.Hallowell@ed.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/63987

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