Publication date: Jul 19, 2021
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease that presents significant challenges to family communication. The investigators examined observations of communication between parents with HD and their offspring talking about the challenges of HD and explored potential correlates of their communication. The sample included parents with HD and their adolescent and young-adult offspring (N=64). Parent communication and chorea were independently coded from video recordings. Parents and offspring completed working memory assessments and self-reports of neuropsychiatric symptoms, stress, and coping. Evidence was found for the association of observed parent-offspring communication with disease markers, psychosocial characteristics, and neurocognitive function. For parents, disease markers and working memory were correlates of communication, whereas offspring’s psychiatric symptoms, stress, and coping were associated with their communication. These findings have potential implications for clinical interventions to enhance communication and quality of life for HD families.