For about a quarter of a century, scientists have been wondering if genetic testing can have negative consequences. Can the information obtained and any risks lead to anxiety and depression? A report from the Hastings Center analyzes the issue. The results are generally positive, even if rather complex. The impact of the tests depends on the reasons for the test, on the social context and on the psychological state of the individual.
The report is divided into three parts:
- the importance of the social and historical context on the way in which the test is received;
- analysis of studies that exclude the psychosocial impact of genetic tests;
- analysis of studies that analyze the negative consequences of genetic testing.
The second part focuses mainly on the consequences of Alzheimer's risk tests. According to the data, there is no significant increase in anxiety and depression problems in people who have received negative results. The third, on the other hand, associates high levels of anxiety in women waiting for prenatal test results. The tests in fact highlight the inherent uncertainty in human health.
The conclusions are in any case positive. Receiving information regarding any anomalies does not seem to have any particular negative consequences. In general, the negative impact on the psyche is extremely limited and in any case balanced by the many positive consequences.