Catriona Hippman

phone: 6048752000 x. 4718
fax: 6048753871

Research and Interests

Genetic counselling for mental illness:

Currently investigating the impact of genetic counselling for individuals affected by bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder with Co-PI, Dr. Jehannine Austin, funded by the BC Medical Services Foundation. In this study, genetic counselling is provided to individuals affected by mental illness, and then participants complete questionnaires to evaluate whether the counselling helped to ameliorate some of the negative psychosocial consequences of their mental illness. The Women’s Health Research Institute has funded a parallel study that will investigate the impact of genetic counselling for family members of individuals with mental illness. As part of these studies, the research team has also developed an educational brochure explaining a little bit about the causes of mental illness, with some funding from the Mood Disorders Association. Additionally, in preparation for the study investigating the impact of genetic counselling for family members, the research team has developed a psychometric scale to measure internalized stigma in family members of individuals with serious mental illness, and will next be collecting data in support of the scale’s validation.

Perinatal Mental Health & Prenatal Screening:

My research interests also include the emotional impact of prenatal screening for conditions such as Down syndrome on prospective parents. This follows from my Master’s research, which documented that 35% of women reported significant symptoms of depression at the time of their appointment for genetic counselling to discuss prenatal results indicating increased risk of fetal aneuploidy (Hippman et al., 2009). I have also supervised a genetic counselling student’s project investigating the views of parents of individuals with Down syndrome. Results from this study were highlighted in a newspaper article: I am currently supervising a genetic counselling student’s project investigating factors important in decision-making for prenatal testing with the intention of using factors identified in qualitative analysis in a discrete-choice experiment follow-up study.


Selected Publications

Hippman, C., Oberlander, T., Honer, W. G., Misri, S., & Austin, J. Depression during pregnancy: The potential impact of increased risk for fetal aneuploidy on maternal mood. Clinical Genetics. 2009. 75. 30-36.

Hunter, M.J., Hippman, C., Honer, W.G., & Austin, J.C. Genetic counseling for schizophrenia: A review of referrals to a provincial medical genetics program from 1968 to 2007. American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part A. 2010. 152A(1). 147-52.

Program members: