The development of a cancer genetic-specific measure of coping: the GRACE



Objective: Generic measures of coping fail to capture the process of undergoing specific health processes such as cancer genetic risk assessment. The Genetic Risk Assessment Coping Evaluation (GRACE) has been developed to provide greater specificity of measurement.

Method: Based upon previous research findings, the GRACE measures the degree of stress associated with 11 recognised sources of stress for individuals undergoing the early stages of cancer genetic risk assessment, and the use of up to eight coping strategies they may elicit. This paper reports preliminary data from the piloting of the GRACE within a randomised trial of a coping intervention.

Results: Of the 265 participants who completed and returned their baseline questionnaire (prior to being informed of their level of genetic risk), 257 completed the GRACE. The most highly endorsed sources of stress involved concerns relating to family members, endorsed by over 60% of respondents, and concerns about how the participants would cope if found to be at increased risk (59%). Participants made use of multiple coping strategies across different sources of stress. The most frequently reported coping strategies were emotion-focused, which may reflect the stage of the assessment process.

Conclusion: The completion rates for the matrix and specificity of responses provided suggest that the GRACE may be an acceptable measurement tool. Further data collection and validation is ongoing. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.