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Bipolar Disorder: Perspectives of Affected Individuals and Siblings

Sharaga, Danielle Alexandra (2011) Bipolar Disorder: Perspectives of Affected Individuals and Siblings. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Bipolar disorder is a common and serious mood disorder that affects approximately 1% of the population. A major health concern, bipolar disorder can have profound effects on individuals, their family members and society. With heritability approaching 93% in some twin studies, the genetic etiology of bipolar disorder is under investigation. Molecular genetic studies have not revealed genes with large effect sizes. Based on the present information gained from twin, family and molecular genetic studies, a multifactorial inheritance pattern is suggested. As a result, genetic testing is not available for bipolar disorder. As genetic knowledge advances, however, it becomes increasingly important to imagine the role that genetic counseling may have for individuals with BPD and their family members. Thus, this study investigates the opinions and perceptions of individuals with bipolar disorder and/or their siblings on issues relevant to genetic counseling. A qualitative research design was employed. Tape-recorded phone interviews were conducted with twenty participants. Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts was utilized to characterize perceptions. Three main themes were identified: 1.) Individuals with bipolar disorder in their family appreciate the importance of a diagnosis and are concerned by perceived limitations with current methods of diagnosis. 2.) Bipolar disorder in the family can have profound effects on relationships, in both negative and positive ways. 3) Increased education and additional support may impact individuals with bipolar disorder and their families. Additionally, approximately 79% of individuals in this study expressed interest in pursuing genetic counseling to discuss additional information and risks for family members. In addition to showing the interest in genetic counseling expressed by these individuals and their siblings, these findings also may provide a better understanding of the needs of this population. This work has public health relevance as it describes how a common disease can impact individuals and their families and how genetic counseling may provide them with an additional source of support. This study may become increasingly relevant as our understanding of the genetics of bipolar disorder grows.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sharaga, Danielle
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGettig, Elizabethbgettig@pitt.eduBGETTIG
Committee MemberTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.ed
Committee MemberGrubs, Robinrgrubs@pitt.eduRGRUBS
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 April 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 4 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Genetic Counseling
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: reproductive decision-making; stigma
Other ID:, etd-04042011-212932
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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