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Journal Article

Citation

Kious BM, Docherty AR, Botkin JR, Brown TR, Francis LP, Gray DD, Keeshin BR, Stark LA, Witte B, Coon H. Genet. Med. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2020, Nature Publishing Group)

DOI

10.1038/s41436-020-00982-1

PMID

33020592

Abstract

PURPOSE: Death from suicide has an estimated heritability of ~50%. Research may soon allow calculation of polygenic risk scores (PRS) for suicide death, which could be marketed directly to consumers. This raises ethical concerns. Understanding how consumers will utilize this information is urgent.

METHODS: We conducted three focus groups involving suicide attempt survivors ("survivors") and family members of suicide decedents ("family members") to gauge their reactions to this technology. Questions focused on positive and negative implications of PRS results. Qualitative research methods were used to summarize studio results.

RESULTS: Eight survivors and 13 family members participated. Both groups postulated benefits of suicide PRS, including prevention and reduced stigma. Their concerns ranged from increased stigma to adverse psychological effects. They suggested that suicide PRS should be accompanied by extensive education and counseling. Participants experienced no adverse effects.

CONCLUSION: Many ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic testing for suicide risk are highly salient to community stakeholders. Our participants hoped that suicide PRS could have significant individual and community-level benefits, but had concerns about effects in several domains, including stigma, access to insurance and employment, and increased anxiety and depression.


Language: en

Keywords

suicide; direct-to-consumer genetic testing; ethics; polygenic risk score

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