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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

MS Human Genetics


Human Genetics Graduate Program


The variable etiology of psychiatric illness makes it a useful target for precision medicine, a healthcare model that customizes medical care to an individual’s genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors with the goal of improving health outcomes. The specific environmental and genetic contributions to one’s psychiatric illness risk are unknown; however, new discoveries of the genetic contributions to psychiatric illness prompt questions as to how genetic-based psychiatric illness risk can be translated into mental health benefit for an individual. Specifically, precision psychiatry must motivate behavioral change in response to genetic risk information to accomplish its goal. The adolescent population is a useful target of precision psychiatry because psychiatric illnesses often begin during this life stage, earlier diagnosis and treatment improves long-term outcomes of psychiatric illness, and adolescents are generally less intolerant of uncertainty. Therefore, adolescents’ willingness to make behavioral changes upon receiving psychiatric genomic risk information is a growing area of interest. This study aims to assess teenagers’ willingness to make behavioral changes in response to the distribution of psychiatric genetic risk information. Recommendations for genetic counseling---an effective tool to improve patient knowledge, alleviate stress and anxiety associated with genetic testing results, and reduce uncertainty of genetic risk---are proposed.