Emotional responses to APO E genotype disclosure for Alzheimer disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of our study is to assess the emotional responses to disclosing APO E genotype to asymptomatic older adults at increased risk for Alzheimer disease (AD). This is a longitudinal cohort study of volunteer subjects who were aged 50 years or over, asymptomatic for (AD), had a family history of AD, passed a psychological assessment, and participated in pre- and post-test genetic counseling and three follow-up visits over 10 months. We analyzed responses by three emotional constructs: depressed, worried, and relieved. Three hundred and twenty-eight subjects were screened, 76 received their APO E genotype. When emotional responses occurred it was immediate, between baseline and the 1 month follow-up. Emotional reactions did not change significantly past 1 month. Our results suggest that for emotionally stable persons, disclosing results of their APO E genotype, high risk subjects did not report more depression or worry and low risk subjects felt relieved by knowing the results. Future studies should evaluate the risks of disclosure to family members involved in the diagnostic work-up of a relative and include subjects from a broader range of emotional stability and socioeconomic background.

publication date

  • April 2005