Couples often discuss genetic test results, and then manage their implications together. This interdependence can lead to common, shared experiences, similar intrapersonal processes to manage shared stressors, or interpersonal influences between spouses, leading to different outcomes. This study sought to reveal the intracouple, intrapersonal, and interpersonal influences of genetic stigma and negative feelings on spousal communication and perceived stress with 50 couples in which one spouse is a member of a genetic disease registry. The results were analyzed with dyadic analysis, including multilevel modeling. The findings showed that registered members and their spouses were not statistically different in their mean levels of perceived genetic stigma, negative feelings about alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), conversations with each other about the AATD test results, and their perceived stress. The findings also showed that their intracouple consistencies were not high, and their intrapersonal and interpersonal influences on communication and stress differed. The social implications of genetic research at the interpersonal level are discussed.
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