Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Genetic Counseling

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Claire N. Singletary, MS, CGC

Committee Member

Syed Shahrukh Hashmi, MD MPH PhD

Committee Member

Joan Mastrobattista, MD

Committee Member

Sarah J. Noblin, MS, CGC

Committee Member

Jerrie Refuerzo, MD

Committee Member

Janice L. Smith, PhD


INFLUENCE OF ANCHORING ON MISCARRIAGE RISK PERCEPTION ASSOCIATED WITH AMNIOCENTESIS Publication No. ___________ Regina Nuccio, BS Supervisory Professor: Claire N. Singletary, MS, CGC Amniocentesis is the most common invasive procedure performed during pregnancy (Eddleman, et al., 2006). One important factor that women consider when making a decision about amniocentesis is the risk of miscarriage associated with the procedure. People use heuristics such as anchoring, the action of using a prior belief regarding the magnitude of risk as a frame of reference for new information to be synthesized, to better understand risks that they encounter in their lives. This study aimed to determine a woman’s perception of miscarriage risk associated with amniocentesis before and after a genetic counseling session and to determine what factors are most likely to anchor a woman’s perception of miscarriage risk associated with amniocentesis. Most women perceived the risk as low or average pre-counseling and were likely to indicate the numeric risk of amniocentesis as <1% risk. A higher percentage of patients correctly identified the numeric risk as <1% post-counseling when compared to pre-counseling. However, the majority of patients’ feeling about the risk perception did not change after the genetic counseling session (60%), regardless of how they perceived the risk before discussing amniocentesis with a genetic counselor. Those whose risk perception did change after discussing amniocentesis with a genetic counselor showed a decreased risk perception (p<0.0001). Of the multitude of factors studied, only two showed significance: having a friend or relative with a personal or family history of a genetic disorder was associated with a lower risk perception (p=0.001) and having a child already was associated with a lower risk perception (p=0.038). The lack of significant factors may reflect the uniqueness of each patient’s heuristic framework and reinforces the importance of genetic counseling to elucidate individual concerns.


Risk Perception, Amniocentesis, Anchoring, Miscarriage Risk

Included in

Diagnosis Commons