Effects of highrisk or positive test results

There are a wide range of possible psychological effects of health screening, and efforts to understand, predict, and modify these are in their infancy. The importance of understanding these effects lies not only in the fact that undergoing or even being asked to consider predictive health testing can constitute a major adverse life event, but also that the psychological reactions to testing may interfere with the aims of testing itself. For example, adverse mood arising from a positive test result may interfere with the person's ability to adopt and maintain appropriate health behaviours, and a negative test result may provide the person with a false sense of security in which they erroneously believe that the test indicates that they will not develop a disease (e.g. in the case of a negative genetic test result in a woman with a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, leading to cessation of breast self examination).

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