Patient Perceptions of Telephone vs. In-Person BRCA1/BRCA2 Genetic Counseling

Beth N. Peshkin, Scott Kelly, Rachel H. Nusbaum, Morgan Similuk, Tiffani A. DeMarco, Gillian W. Hooker, Heiddis B. Valdimarsdottir, Andrea D. Forman, Jessica Rispoli Joines, Claire Davis, Shelley R. McCormick, Wendy McKinnon, Kristi D. Graves, Claudine Isaacs, Judy Garber, Marie Wood, Lina Jandorf, Marc D. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Telephone genetic counseling (TC) for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer risk has been associated with positive outcomes in high risk women. However, little is known about how patients perceive TC. As part of a randomized trial of TC versus usual care (UC; in-person genetic counseling), we compared high risk women’s perceptions of: (1) overall satisfaction with genetic counseling; (2) convenience; (3) attentiveness during the session; (4) counselor effectiveness in providing support; and (5) counselor ability to recognize emotional responses during the session. Among the 554 participants (TC, N = 272; UC, N = 282), delivery mode was not associated with self-reported satisfaction. However, TC participants found counseling significantly more convenient than UC participants (OR = 4.78, 95 % CI = 3.32, 6.89) while also perceiving lower levels of support (OR = 0.56, 95 % CI = 0.40–0.80) and emotional recognition (OR = 0.53, 95 % CI = 0.37–0.76). In exploratory analyses, we found that non-Hispanic white participants reported higher counselor support in UC than in TC (69.4 % vs. 52.8 %; OR = 3.06, 95 % CI = 1.39–6.74), while minority women perceived less support in UC vs. TC (58.3 % vs. 38.7 %; OR = 0.80, 95 % CI = 0.39–1.65). We discuss potential research and practice implications of these findings which may further improve the effectiveness and utilization of TC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-482
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Genetic counseling
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Telephone counseling


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