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Fearfulness changes impact of genomic information in overweight women

News April 20, 2016

Everyone has bad days, whether it's the result of a traffic accident, a missed phone call or a rusty nail that requires a tetanus shot. But when those bad days, and the emotions they provoke, precede a visit to the doctor, the results can be unexpected.

New research suggests that fearful patients who received information about the role of genomics in being overweight viewed the information as threatening and were less likely to take steps to improve their health habits than those in a neutral or angry state. The study, by National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers, was published in an advanced online issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine on February 5, 2016.

"People sometimes think they're making healthcare decisions based on the cold hard facts, but we're discovering that emotions play a big role," said Susan Persky, Ph.D., the study's lead author and an associate investigator with the Social and Behavioral Research Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH.

Last updated: April 20, 2016