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Clinical terminology: anxiety and confusion amongst families undergoing genetic counseling

Chapple, Alison, Campion, Peter and May, Carl (1997) Clinical terminology: anxiety and confusion amongst families undergoing genetic counseling Patient Education and Counseling, 32, (1-2), pp. 81-91. (doi:10.1016/S0738-3991(97)00065-7).

Record type: Article


Genetic counseling is a rapidly expanding, but highly demanding, domain of doctor-patient communication. This paper reports results from an ethnographic study of families (n = 30) attending a genetic counseling clinic in Northern England. We suggest that the language used in this particular specialty is often confusing and misunderstood by the families involved. We found that unfamiliar terms may also conjure up alarming images. It is important therefore, that physicians, and in particular geneticists, try to use simple, understandable language, and give clear explanations for unfamiliar terms that cannot be avoided. The careful choice of words, and detailed explanation, not only reduces the risks of “labelling” and stigmatization, but may also prevent the unnecessary anxiety experienced by patients when they hear unfamiliar medical terms, such as the eponyms frequently employed by geneticists when giving a diagnosis.

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Published date: 10 September 1997
Keywords: genetic counseling, families, doctor-patient communication, anxiety
Organisations: Health Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 163383
ISSN: 0738-3991
PURE UUID: a9266ca5-dd50-48ed-8204-f8b638801954
ORCID for Carl May: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 17 Sep 2010 08:32
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:31

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Author: Alison Chapple
Author: Peter Campion
Author: Carl May ORCID iD

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