Distinct communication patterns during genetic counseling for late-onset Alzheimer's risk assessment

Barbara Lerner, J. Scott Roberts, Michael Shwartz, Debra L. Roter, Robert C. Green, Jack A. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify and characterize patient-provider communication patterns during disclosure of Alzheimer's disease genetic susceptibility test results and to assess whether these patterns reflect differing models of genetic counseling. Methods: 262 genetic counseling session audio-recordings were coded using the Roter Interactional Analysis System. Cluster analysis was used to distinguish communication patterns. Bivariate analyses were used to identify characteristics associated with the patterns. Results: Three patterns were identified: Biomedical-Provider-Teaching (40%), Biomedical-Patient-Driven (34.4%), and Psychosocial-Patient-Centered (26%). Psychosocial-Patient-Centered and Biomedical-Provider-Teaching sessions included more female participants while the Biomedical-Patient-Driven sessions included more male participants ( p= 0.04). Conclusion: Communication patterns observed reflected the teaching model primarily, with genetic counseling models less frequently used. The emphasis on biomedical communication may potentially be at the expense of more patient-centered approaches. Practice implications: To deliver more patient-centered care, providers may need to better balance the ratio of verbal exchange with their patients, as well as their educational and psychosocial discussions. The delineation of these patterns provides insights into the genetic counseling process that can be used to improve the delivery of genetic counseling care. These results can also be used in future research designed to study the association between patient-centered genetic counseling communication and improved patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetic testing
  • Patient-centeredness
  • Patient-provider communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Distinct communication patterns during genetic counseling for late-onset Alzheimer's risk assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this