Whether to return individual research results from cancer genetics studies is widely debated, but little is known about how participants respond to results disclosure or about its time and cost burdens on investigators.
We recontacted participants at one site of a multicenter genetic epidemiologic study regarding their CDKN2A gene test results and implications for melanoma risk. Interested participants were disclosed their results by telephone and followed for 3 months.
Among 39 patients approached, 27 were successfully contacted, and 19 (70% uptake) sought results, including three with mutations. Prior to disclosure, participants endorsed numerous benefits of receiving results (mean = 7.7 of 9 posed), including gaining information relevant to their children’s disease risk. Mean psychological well-being scores did not change from baseline, and no decreases to melanoma prevention behaviors were noted. Fifty-nine percent of participants reported that disclosure made participation in future research more likely. Preparation for disclosure required 40 minutes and $611 per recontact attempt. An additional 78 minutes and $68 was needed to disclose results.
Cancer epidemiology research participants who received their individual genetic research results showed no evidence of psychological harm or false reassurance from disclosure and expressed strong trust in the accuracy of results. Burdens to our investigators were high, but protocols may differ in their demands and disclosure may increase participants’ willingness to enroll in future studies.
Providing individual study results to cancer genetics research participants poses potential challenges for investigators, but many participants desire and respond positively to this information.
Research ethicists have recently declared a new ethical imperative: that researchers should communicate the results of research to participants. For some analysts, the obligation is restricted to the communication of the general findings or conclusions of the study. However, other analysts extend the obligation to the disclosure of individual research results, especially where these results are perceived to have clinical relevance. Several scholars have advanced cogent critiques of the putative obligation to disclose individual research results. They question whether ethical goals are served by disclosure or violated by non-disclosure, and whether the communication of research results respects ethically salient differences between research practices and clinical care. Empirical data on these questions are limited. Available evidence suggests, on the one hand, growing support for disclosure, and on the other, the potential for significant harm.
This paper explores the implications of the disclosure of individual research results for the relationship between research and clinical care through analysis of research-based cancer genetic testing in Ontario, Canada in the late 1990s. We analyze a set of 30 interviews with key informants involved with research-based cancer genetic testing before the publicly funded clinical service became available in 2000.
We advance three insights: First, the communication of individual research results makes research practices seem like clinical services for our respondents. Second, while valuing the way in which research enables a form of clinical access, our respondents experience these quasi-clinical services as inadequate. Finally, our respondents recognize the ways in which their experience with these quasi-clinical services is influenced by research imperatives, but understand and interpret the significance and appropriateness of these influences in different ways.
Our findings suggest that the hybrid state created through the disclosure of research results about individuals that are perceived to be clinically relevant may produce neither sufficiently adequate clinical care nor sufficiently ethical research practices. These findings raise questions about the extent to which research can, and should, be made to serve clinical purposes, and suggest the need for further deliberation regarding any ethical obligation to communicate individual research results.
The disclosure of individual genetic research results to participants continues to be the subject of vigorous debate, centered primarily on the nature of the results: What are the criteria for the kinds of information that should, could, or should not be offered? There are widely diverging views about how to define these categories, as reasonable people can disagree about the value of various kinds of information. Data concerning participant preferences regarding receipt of results are important, but not determinative of researchers’ fundamental obligations.
We suggest that research context is a vital consideration that has not been sufficiently incorporated into the discussion. We adapt an ancillary care framework to explore what different contexts might call for with regard to offering individual genetic research results. Our analysis suggests that, beyond exceptionally rare circumstances that give rise to a duty to rescue, a “one size fits all” threshold cannot be developed for decisions about return of individual results. Instead, researchers and IRBs must consider the scope of entrustment involved in the research, the intensity and duration of interactions with participants, and the vulnerability and dependence of the study population. The strength of this approach is that research context is foreseeable at the time a study is designed. Assessments of the nature and value of the information may still be required to decide whether to offer a particular result, but perhaps will be facilitated by a more grounded understanding of researchers’ obligations in different contexts.
Published guidelines suggest that research results and incidental findings should be offered to study participants under some circumstances. Although some have argued against the return of results in research, many cite an emerging consensus that there is an ethical obligation to return at least some results; the debate quickly turns to issues of mechanics (e.g., which results? who discloses? for how long does the obligation exist?). Although commentators are careful to distinguish this as an ethical rather than legal obligation, we worry that return of results may unjustifiably become standard of care based on this growing “consensus,” which could quickly lead to a legal (negligence-based) duty to offer and return individualized genetic research results. We caution against this and argue in this essay that the debate to date has failed to give adequate weight to a number of fundamental ethical and policy issues that should undergird policy on return of research results in the first instance, many of which go to the fundamental differences between research and clinical care. We confine our comments to research using data from large biobanks, the topic of the guidelines proposed in this symposium issue.
biobanking; ethics; genetics; law; policy; return of results
Individuals who have, or are at risk for, various genetic disorders face many challenges concerning disclosures of genetic information in dating situations. We conducted a qualitative interview study of 64 individuals confronting Huntington’s disease, breast cancer, or Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, examining what issues these individuals encountered, and how they viewed and addressed these—including issues of understandings, privacy, and disclosures of genetic information to various groups (e.g., family members). Incidental to the primary research questions addressed, participants also often described a series of dilemmas in dating situations that they and/or family members, friends, and fellow patients faced of whether to date, and if so, whether, what, how, why, and when to disclose their genetic risk or illness. At times, these individuals feared and experienced rejection, and hence delayed, avoided, or opposed disclosure, or disclosed indirectly or inadvertently. These data are reported in this paper and highlight the importance of patients, their loved ones, genetic counselors, and other health care providers being aware of these issues, and appreciating the complex factors involved, which can affect patients’ coping and social support. This paper, the first to explore several key aspects of disclosures of genetic information in dating, thus suggests needs for public and professional education, and future research in this area.
Risk communication; Decision-making; Health behaviors; Confidentiality; Ethics; Family relationships; Reproductive choices; Reproductive decisions; Qualitative research
Recruiting research participants based on genetic information generated about them in a prior study is a potentially powerful way to study the functional significance of human genetic variation, but also presents ethical challenges. To inform policy development on this issue, we conducted a survey of U.S. institutional review board chairs concerning the acceptability of recontacting genetic research participants about additional research and their views on the disclosure of individual genetic results as part of recruitment. Our findings suggest there is unlikely to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution, but rather several ethically acceptable approaches to genotype-driven recruitment depending on context. Disclosures made during the consent process for the original study and the clinical validity of the results are key considerations. Researchers must be prepared to communicate and answer questions in clear, lay language about what is known and not known about the role of genetics in their proposed area of research.
Research recruitment; informed consent; disclosure of research results; genetic research; Institutional Review Boards
The rapid emergence of whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing of research participants has helped to revive the debate about whether genetic and other ‘omic’ data should be returned to research participants, and if so, which data, under what circumstances and by whom. While partial disclosure of such data has been justified in cases where participants’ lives and health are threatened, full disclosure appears to remain beyond the pale for most researchers and bioethicists. I argue that it should not be and that the objections to full disclosure short-sightedly favor near-term considerations over long-term benefits. Return of genomic data to those who want it, even if a difficult undertaking and even if the meaning of the data is unclear, engages participants in science and the research enterprise, and positions them to be better stewards of their own health and wellbeing.
biobanking; genomic data; research ethics; return of results
Recommendations and guidance on how to handle the return of genetic results to patients have offered limited insight into how to approach incidental genetic findings in the context of clinical trials. This paper provides the Genomics and Randomized Trials Network (GARNET) recommendations on incidental genetic findings in the context of clinical trials, and discusses the ethical and practical issues considered in formulating our recommendations. There are arguments in support of as well as against returning incidental genetic findings in clinical trials. For instance, reporting incidental findings in clinical trials may improve the investigator-participant relationship and the satisfaction of participation, but it may also blur the line between clinical care and research. The issues of whether and how to return incidental genetic findings, including the costs of doing so, should be considered when developing clinical trial protocols. Once decided, plans related to sharing individual results from the aim(s) of the trial, as well as incidental findings, should be discussed explicitly in the consent form. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and other study-specific governing bodies should be part of the decision as to if, when, and how to return incidental findings, including when plans in this regard are being reconsidered.
Background/Aims: As genetic and genomic research proliferates, debate has ensued about returning results to participants. In addition to consideration of the benefits and harms to participants, researchers must also consider the logistical and financial feasibility of returning research results. However, little data exist of actual researcher practices. Methods: We conducted an online survey of 446 corresponding authors of genetic/genomic studies conducted in the United States and published in 2006–2007 to assess the frequency with which they considered, offered to, or actually returned research results, what factors influenced these decisions, and the method of communicating results. Results: The response rate was 24% (105/446). Fifty-four percent of respondents considered the issue of returning research results to participants, 28% offered to return individual research results, and 24% actually returned individual research results. Of those who considered the issue of returning research results during the study planning phase, the most common factors considered were whether research results were deemed clinically useful (18%) and respect for participants (13%). Researchers who had a medical degree and conducted studies on children were significantly more likely to offer to return or actually return individual results compared to those with a Ph.D. only. Conclusions: We speculate that issues associated with clinical validity and respect for participants dominated concerns of time and expense given the prominent and continuing ethical debates surrounding genetics and genomics research. The substantial number of researchers who did not consider returning research results suggests that researchers and institutional review boards need to devote more attention to a topic about which research participants are interested.
HIV disclosure among sexually active HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) is a complex phenomenon. To better understand factors that impact the decision-making process regarding HIV disclosure among HIV-infected MSM, the present study analyzed content from previously conducted counseling sessions where HIV disclosure was selected as the primary focus of the session. The counselor/participant dialogue was audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed qualitatively using content analysis. Factors identified as barriers that deter HIV-infected MSM from disclosing include rejection, issues of confidentiality, possible missed sexual opportunities, partner’s HIV status, deferred responsibility, sexual partner type, and public sex environments. Participants identified ethical obligation, the potential for a dating relationship, timing of disclosure, and bidirectional communication as facilitators of disclosure. Findings can be used for policy development as well as to guide social workers and other healthcare providers’ assessment and development of clinical interventions addressing sexual health among HIV-infected MSM as it relates to HIV disclosure.
HIV disclosure; HIV infected MSM; sexual risk
Disclosure of positive HIV status in Sub-Saharan Africa has been associated with safer sexual practices and better antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, but associations with psychosocial function are unclear. We examined patterns and psychosocial correlates of disclosure in a Zimbabwean community. Two hundred HIV positive women at different stages of initiating ART participated in a cross-sectional study examining actual disclosures, disclosure beliefs, perceived stigma, self-esteem, depression, and quality of life. Ninety-seven percent of the women disclosed to at least one person, 78% disclosed to their current husband/partner, with an average disclosure of 4.0 persons per woman. The majority (85–98%) of disclosures occurred in a positive manner and 72–95% of the individuals reacted positively. Factors significantly correlated with HIV disclosure to partners included being married, later age at menses, longer duration of HIV since diagnosis, being on ART, being more symptomatic at baseline, ever having used condoms, and greater number of partners in the last year. In multivariate analysis, being married and age at menses predicted disclosure to partners. Positive disclosure beliefs, but not the total number of disclosures, significantly correlated with lower perceived stigma (rho=0.44 for personalized subscale and rho=0.51 for public subscale, both p<0.0001), higher self-esteem (rho=0.15, p=0.04), and fewer depressive symptoms (rho=−0.14, p=0.05). In conclusion, disclosure of positive HIV status among Zimbabwean women is common and is frequently met with positive reactions. Moreover, positive disclosure beliefs correlate significantly with psychosocial measures, including lower perceived stigma, higher self-esteem, and lower depression.
disclosure; stigma; depression; HIV; antiretroviral therapy; Zimbabwe; Sub-Saharan Africa
Controversy surrounding disclosure among donor oocyte recipients is escalating worldwide. This in-depth analysis captures the voice of pregnant women who received donor oocytes and the factors that influence their decision to disclosure.
Controversy surrounding disclosure among donor oocyte recipients is escalating worldwide, yet little research has sought to understand the disclosure experience of pregnant, donor oocyte recipient women. The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth description of the disclosure experience, and identify factors that were significant to recipient women which influenced their reasoning as they formulated disclosure decisions.
Qualitative, naturalistic design using a phenomenological approach.
The home or private office of the recipient woman.
Donor oocyte recipient women between 9 and 23 weeks gestation.
Disclosure decisions were influenced by multiple factors emerging from the women’s values and beliefs and their social and cultural environment. Values and beliefs consisted of the right to know and the duty to protect. Social and cultural factors included social support, culture of the family, evolution of the social process, and personal testimonials. Women’s age and selection of donor type are interrelated with disclosure decisions.
Disclosing women voiced the right of the child to know and perceived social and cultural factors as conducive to disclosure. Non-disclosing and undecided women emphasized protecting normative relationships, perceived social stigma, and were unable to identify a benefit to disclosing. Women’s age and choice of oocyte donor should be considered when counseling recipient women.
decision making; disclosure; donor gametes; oocyte donation; pregnancy
People who receive conclusive genetic test results for hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) tend to adopt appropriate colorectal cancer screening behaviors and disclose their test results. However, little is known about the disclosure processes or screening behaviors of individuals who receive inconclusive genetic test results. This study compared endoscopy use and disclosure between individuals with positive and inconclusive genetic test results, within a year after results were received.
Individuals with a personal history of cancer and suspected of having HNPCC participated in genetic education and counseling, underwent HNPCC testing, and received genetic test results (GCT) within a prospective cohort study. Demographic, psychosocial and behavioral data were obtained from questionnaires and interviews completed before and after GCT.
Index cases with inconclusive genetic test results were less likely to screen within 12 months. Index cases who disclosed test results to children within 6 months were more likely to screen within 12 months, controlling for mutation status. Index cases with inconclusive genetic test results were less likely to share results with a health care provider within 6 months. Index cases who disclosed genetic test results to health care providers within 6 months were more likely to have endoscopy within 12 months.
Genetic test results and disclosure significantly affected colon cancer screening at 12-month follow-up. Interventions to improve adherence to colorectal cancer screening should consider increased education of those receiving inconclusive results and encourage disclosure to health care providers and family members
hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; health behavior; cancer screening
Risk information for Alzheimer disease (AD) may be communicated through susceptibility gene disclosure, even though this is not currently in clinical use. The REVEAL Study is the first randomized clinical trial of risk assessment for AD with apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype and numerical risk estimate disclosure. We examined whether APOE genotype and numerical risk disclosure to asymptomatic individuals at high risk for AD alters health behaviors. One hundred sixty-two participants were randomized to either intervention (APOE disclosure) or control (no genotype disclosure) groups. Subjects in both groups received numerical lifetime risk estimates of future AD development based on sex and family history of AD. The intervention group received their APOE genotype. Subjects were informed that no proven preventive measures for AD existed and given an information sheet on preventative therapies under investigation. Participants who learned they were ε4 positive were significantly more likely than ε4 negative participants to report AD-specific health behavior change 1 year after disclosure (adjusted odds ratio: 2.73; 95% confidence interval: 1.14, 6.54; P = 0.02). Post hoc analyses revealed similar significant associations between numerical lifetime risk estimates and self-report of AD-specific health behavior change. Despite lack of preventive measures for AD, knowledge of APOE genotype, numerical lifetime risk, or both, influences health behavior.
Alzheimer; memory; health behavior change; risk assessment
Certain modes of trauma disclosure have been found to be associated with more severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS) in different trauma populations: the reluctance to disclose trauma-related thoughts and feelings, a strong urge to talk about it, and physical as well as emotional reactions during disclosure. Although social-contextual influences gain more and more interest in trauma research, no study has yet investigated these “dysfunctional disclosure tendencies” and their association with PTS from an interpersonal perspective.
(1) To replicate previous findings on dysfunctional disclosure tendencies in patients with life-threatening injury and their significant others and (2) to study interpersonal associations between dysfunctional disclosure style and PTS at a dyadic level.
PTS symptom severity and self-reports on dysfunctional disclosure tendencies were assessed in N=70 dyads comprising one individual with severe traumatic brain injury and a significant other (“proxy”) 3 months after injury.
Regression analyses predicting PTS symptom severity revealed dysfunctional disclosure tendencies to have incremental validity above and beyond sex, age, and trauma severity within the individual (both patient and proxy), with moderate effect sizes. The interaction between patient's and proxy's disclosure style explained additional portions of the variance in patients’ PTS symptom severity.
Findings suggest that dysfunctional disclosure tendencies are related to poorer psychological adaptation to severe traumatic brain injury. This intrapersonal association may be exacerbated by dysfunctional disclosure tendencies on the part of a significant other. Although the results require replication in other trauma samples without brain injury to further generalize the findings beyond the observed population, the study contributes to the expanding literature on the crucial role of interpersonal relationships in trauma recovery.
disclosure of trauma; communication; dyads; significant other; posttraumatic stress disorder; medical trauma; traumatic brain injury; accident
Previous researchers have comprehensively documented rates of HIV disclosure to family at discrete time periods yet none have taken a dynamic approach to this phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to address the trajectory of HIV serostatus disclosure to family members over time. Time to disclosure was analyzed from data provided by 125 primarily single (48.8%), HIV-positive African American (68%) adult women. Data collection occurred between 2001 and 2006. Results indicated that women were most likely to disclose their HIV status within the first seven years after diagnosis, and mothers and sisters were most likely to be told. Rates of disclosure were not significantly impacted by indicators of disease progression, frequency of contact, physical proximity, or relationship satisfaction. The results of this study are discussed in comparison to previous disclosure research, and clinical implications are provided.
Evidence documenting management of incidental findings (IFs) from clinical genomic testing is limited. The aim of this study was to examine genetics specialists’ perspectives regarding current and preferred disclosure of clinical genomic IFs.
50 genetics specialists, including medical geneticists, laboratory professionals, genetic counselors, and nurses participated in structured telephone interviews. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics.
Most specialists had encountered IFs, but definitions of IFs varied. They discussed challenges with informing patients about the prospect of IFs and disclosing IFs to patients. Causing psychological harm to patients was a concern. Participants were divided on whether IFs needed to be clinically significant and/or actionable in order to be disclosed to patients. Creating formal disclosure guidelines was considered useful, but only if they were flexible. Additional counseling, more interdisciplinary communication, maintaining contact with patients, and a centralized database to interpret IFs were also proposed.
Genetics specialists offer insights into the challenges of defining IFs, knowing when and how to disclose them, and the potential need for flexible disclosure guidelines.
Further discussion between practicing genetics specialists is needed to develop consensus on the development of best-practice guidelines for IF management.
Genomics; incidental findings; clinical genetics; disclosure
Parent communication of BRCA1/2 test results to minor-age children is an important, yet understudied, clinical issue that is commonly raised in the management of familial cancer risk. Genetic counseling professionals and others who work with parents undergoing this form of testing often confront questions about the risks/benefits and timing of such disclosures, as well as the psychosocial impact of disclosure and nondisclosure on children’s health and development. This paper briefly reviews literature on the prevalence and outcome of parent-child communication surrounding maternal BRCA1/2 test results. It also describes a formative research process that was used to develop a decision support intervention for mothers participating in genetic counseling and testing for BRCA1/2 mutations to address this issue, and highlights the conceptual underpinnings that guided and informed the intervention’s development. The intervention consists of a print-based decision aid to facilitate parent education and counseling regarding if, when, and potentially how to disclose hereditary cancer risk information to children. We conclude with a summary of the role of social, behavioral, and decision science research to support the efforts of providers of familial cancer care regarding this important decision, and to improve the outcomes of cancer genetic testing for tested parents and their nontested children.
parents; children; adolescents; cancer genetic testing; BRCA1/2; decision support; decision aid; family communication
Genetic research can produce information that is beyond the aims of the research study yet may be of clinical or personal interest to study participants. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 44 researchers who were asked to describe how they would respond to a hypothetical vignette regarding the disclosure of findings with unanticipated clinical significance to research study participants. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using content and thematic analyses. Researchers’ decision-making processes about whether to disclose incidental findings were governed by potentially conflicting duties in three primary domains: information quality, adherence to rules, and participant welfare. There are several actions researchers can take to prepare for incidental findings, including: adding specific language in informed consent documents to state clearly how investigators will handle disclosure; exploring how prepared participants might be during the consent process to make decisions about how they would like to be approached in the event of incidental findings; developing procedures for appropriately communicating individual results and providing follow-up support based on participant preferences; and, in genetic research, having an awareness of the range of traits expressed by the genes under study.
incidental findings; genetic studies; decision-making processes; communication of results; disclosure; qualitative research; vignette study
Disclosing the diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) to a child is a controversial and emotionally charged issue amongst both the health care communities and parents and caregivers of these children. This paper provides a systematic review of research on disclosure of pediatric HIV infection. The paper begins with a brief discussion of disclosure drawing from research on pediatric cancer. Next, we review the available research including patterns of disclosure, factors associated with disclosure and non-disclosure, and the effect of disclosure on psychological health and adherence. A review of published intervention studies is also included. While no consensus on when the diagnosis of HIV should be disclosed to a child or the psychological outcomes associated with disclosure was found, clinical consensus on several issues related to working with families was identified. We apply this literature to clinical practice and suggest avenues and directions for future research.
Most studies of HIV disclosure in Africa have focused on disclosure to spouses and sexual partners, and particularly among women. Few have examined disclosure to family, friends, and others. Understanding the reasons for disclosure and nondisclosure and how these reasons differ by disclosure target is needed for effective prevention interventions. Using a case study design and content analysis, this study explored whether the reasons for disclosure decisions differ by the nature of the relationship to the disclosure target. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 40 HIV clients in Kampala, with even stratification by gender and age. Most (95%) respondents reported disclosing to someone; among these, 84% disclosed to family members, 63% to friends, 21% to workplace colleagues, and 18% to others. Of the 24 participants who had a spouse, 13 (54%) reported disclosing to a spouse. The most common reasons for disclosure were to receive support (76%), associated with disclosure to family members; relationship ties (76%), associated with disclosure to all target types; explaining change in behavior or appearance (61%), associated with disclosing to family and friends; and HIV prevention (50%), associated with disclosure to spouse/partner and friends. The most common reasons for nondisclosure were: fear of abandonment, particularly among young women disclosing to spouse/partner; inaccessibility to the disclosure target; and not wanting to worry/upset the disclosure target. This exploratory analysis suggests that reasons for disclosure and nondisclosure differ depending on the targets of disclosure, highlighting the need for tailoring interventions for improving disclosure decisions making and outcomes.
Research has indicated that writing about traumatic experiences is associated with beneficial health effects compared with writing about emotionally neutral topics. What remains unclear are those factors that moderate the beneficial effects associated with written disclosure. This study examined respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) as a moderator of written disclosure outcome. Findings indicated that individuals with the highest RSA during the first written disclosure session benefited most from written disclosure in terms of physical health complaints and depression symptoms. As expected, RSA did not impact outcome for participants assigned to a control condition. These findings indicate that individuals who display good emotion regulation skills are best served by written disclosure.
Written disclosure; Respiratory sinus arrhythmia; Emotion; Depression; Physical health
The objective of this study was to develop a culturally appropriate approach for obtaining assent from children aged eight to 17 years to participate in paediatric HIV-related operational research in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Included within this objective was to determine whether or not HIV disclosure should be included as part of the assent process prior to research participation, a component of research participation, or not incorporated in any aspect of the child's involvement in the research. Factors that influence parents' and caregivers' decisions to disclose HIV status to children in non-research contexts were also explored.
A qualitative formative study was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 youth living with HIV, 36 parents and caregivers of youth living with HIV, and 17 health professionals who provide care and support to youth living with HIV and their families. Participants were purposefully selected from three HIV care, treatment and/or psychosocial support programmes in Kinshasa, DRC.
Most youth interviewed believed minors participating in HIV-related research should be informed of their HIV-positive status. Parents and caregivers and health professionals had varied perspectives on if and when HIV status should be disclosed to minors during research participation. The age of the youth influenced parents and caregivers' responses, and disclosure to adolescents was more frequently supported than disclosure to children.
Several parents and caregivers, as well as some health professionals, suggested that minors should never be told their HIV-positive status when participating in HIV-related research, regardless of their age. Within the context of treatment programmes, disclosure of HIV status to minors was supported by youth, parents and caregivers, and health professionals as a means to improve adherence to medication.
In settings where most minors are unaware of their HIV infection, researchers should consider excluding the term, "HIV", when explaining HIV-related research to minors, and omitting it from assent forms or informational sheets related to research participation. However, an individualized disclosure plan should be initiated with parents and caregivers at the time of enrolment in HIV-related research, particularly in research that involves treatment.
Physician disclosure of medical errors to institutions, patients, and colleagues is important for patient safety, patient care, and professional education. However, the variables that may facilitate or impede disclosure are diverse and lack conceptual organization.
To develop an empirically derived, comprehensive taxonomy of factors that affects voluntary disclosure of errors by physicians.
A mixed-methods study using qualitative data collection (structured literature search and exploratory focus groups), quantitative data transformation (sorting and hierarchical cluster analysis), and validation procedures (confirmatory focus groups and expert review).
Full-text review of 316 articles identified 91 impeding or facilitating factors affecting physicians' willingness to disclose errors. Exploratory focus groups identified an additional 27 factors. Sorting and hierarchical cluster analysis organized factors into 8 domains. Confirmatory focus groups and expert review relocated 6 factors, removed 2 factors, and modified 4 domain names. The final taxonomy contained 4 domains of facilitating factors (responsibility to patient, responsibility to self, responsibility to profession, responsibility to community), and 4 domains of impeding factors (attitudinal barriers, uncertainties, helplessness, fears and anxieties).
A taxonomy of facilitating and impeding factors provides a conceptual framework for a complex field of variables that affects physicians' willingness to disclose errors to institutions, patients, and colleagues. This taxonomy can be used to guide the design of studies to measure the impact of different factors on disclosure, to assist in the design of error-reporting systems, and to inform educational interventions to promote the disclosure of errors to patients.
medical errors; error reporting; patient safety; disclosure; medical ethics
Better understanding of how research participants with a known condition ascribe meaning to individual genetic results is important to help researchers and institutional review boards evaluate the potential benefits and harms of disclosing results in the context of genotype-driven research recruitment. Based on 29 in-depth interviews with epilepsy patients participating in a genetic study, we found that this population of research subjects anticipated that genetic research results would provide answers to a range of questions about the research process and their condition. Their multi-layered interpretations underscore the need for clear communication about the nature and limitations of results if individual or aggregate genetic results are returned in the process of recruitment for additional research.
research recruitment; research participants; disclosure of research results; genetic research; research participants; genetic results