Resilience and Psychological Distress in Genetic Testing for Alzheimer's Disease

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Alicia Burgei


The relationship between resilience and psychological distress resulting from genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease among non-cognitively impaired individuals is examined in this study. Preventative genetic testing determines the likelihood of developing or passing on genetic disorders. However, receiving genetic information, especially regarding incurable diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, can lead to significant psychological distress. Resilience, the ability to cope with adversity and recover quickly, is considered a protective factor against psychological distress. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether higher levels of resilience are associated with lower psychological distress from genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease and to determine if having a familial history of Alzheimer’s disease influences this relationship. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted among 181 non-cognitively impaired participants (43.6% Male; 54.1% Female; Mage=38.1 [13.9]) using the Impact of Genetic Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease (IGT-AD) scale and the Brief Resilience Scale (BRS), along with a question about family history of Alzheimer’s disease. The results indicated a significant negative correlation between resilience and psychological distress, suggesting that individuals with higher resilience experienced lower distress related to genetic testing. However, family history did not mediate the relationship, meaning the protective effect of resilience was consistent regardless of familial risk. These findings have implications for developing targeted support services and resilience-based interventions to help individuals cope with the emotional impact of genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease. Further research could explore other potential protective factors and examine the long-term impact of genetic testing results on psychological well-being and behavior.

Article Details

resilience, psychological distress, genetic testing, Alzheimer's disease
How to Cite
Burgei, A. (2024). Resilience and Psychological Distress in Genetic Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease. Graduate Student Journal of Psychology, 22(1).