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July 1972

Subjective Perspective of a Family With Huntington's Chorea: Implications for Genetic Counseling

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(1):67-72. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750250055007

The attitudes, feelings, reactions, and modes of adjustment of members of a family afflicted with Huntington's chorea through three generations are explored in detail. The social attitudes of members of this family were harmonious both with respect to intrafamily and community relationships. The emotional strength of these family members is in sharp contrast to the asocial behavior and disintegration of family unity as reported by other investigators. In our mobile modern American society the stigma of Huntington's chorea may be somewhat blunted as compared with our earlier rural-agrarian culture. Effective genetic counseling should be directed toward the psychodynamic factors in the patient in context with his family milieu. Control of this disease must depend primarily upon the early detection of potential carriers of the deleterious gene which can best be accomplished through family studies.