Jehannine C. Austin

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Genetic counseling is an important clinical service that is routinely offered to families affected by genetic disorders or by complex disorders for which genetic testing is available. It is not yet routinely offered to individuals with serious mental illnesses and their families, but recent findings that beliefs about the cause of mental illness can affect(More)
BACKGROUND Prenatal and early postnatal exposure to maternal depression may "program" childhood behavior via epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation. Methylenetetrahydro-folate reductase (MTHFR) is an important enzyme in the generation of methyl groups for DNA methylation. The common MTHFR C677T variant is associated with depression in men and(More)
AIM There has been increasing interest in the concept of applying genetic counselling to psychiatric disorders, but despite its relevance to psychiatric illness, and interest from the target group, there have been no empiric investigations of psychiatric genetic counselling. In a population of unaffected parents of individuals with first episode as well as(More)
Genetic counseling can result in better outcomes when clients understand what to expect, and at least theoretically, at some point in their lifespan, anyone could be referred for or benefit from genetic counseling. Thus, in order to identify (and ultimately address) issues around awareness of genetic counseling and perceptions of its purpose, we surveyed(More)
To facilitate the development of a therapeutic alliance in genetic counseling, it is important that the counselor understands how families might perceive the condition that constitutes the reason for the referral. Through training and professional practice, genetic counselors develop a thorough understanding of families’ perceptions of the conditions that(More)
Studies show that individuals with psychotic illnesses and their families want information about psychosis risks for other relatives. However, deriving accurate numeric probabilities for psychosis risk is challenging, and people have difficulty interpreting probabilistic information; thus, some have suggested that clinicians should use risk descriptors,(More)
Many people, including genetic counselors, have been found to hold stigmatizing attitudes towards people with mental illnesses. We aimed to determine whether these attitudes could be changed by exposing genetic counselors and genetic counseling students to a documentary film about people with mental illness. We screened the documentary at the 2010 North(More)
Discussions about genetic contributions to medical illness have become increasingly commonplace. Physicians and other health-care providers in all quarters of medicine, from oncology to psychiatry, routinely field questions about the genetic basis of the medical conditions they treat. Communication about genetic testing and risk also enter into these(More)
As a result of publicity surrounding genetic advances, increasing public awareness of a genetic role in major mental illness may be contributing to a "geneticization" of these illnesses. Geneticization could lead to oversimplified ideas about genetic risk, producing significant social consequences. We sought to investigate perceptions of genetic risk,(More)
No genetic tests are currently clinically available for serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Rather, the full spectrum of genetic variants that confer susceptibility remain unknown, and estimates of probability of condition recurrence typically have the form of ranges rather than single absolute numbers. Genetic counselors(More)