Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dr. Barbara Herlihy

Second Advisor

Dr. Zarus Watson

Third Advisor

Dr. Ann O'Hanlon


A narrative qualitative research design was used to understand the stories of young women diagnosed with BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genetic mutation. Four participants were selected who met the following criteria: (a) the participant is diagnosed with BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation, b) is within the age range of 18 to 35, (c) is without a cancer diagnosis, and is (d) not currently pregnant and does not have children. The four participants were interviewed through open-ended inquiry. The participants’ narratives proved both similar and dissimilar. The themes were organized into within-case narratives and across-case narratives. The narratives revealed that young BRCA previvors face unique challenges and experiences, and many can be viewed from an underlying feminist lens. In response to the research questions, BRCA previvors revealed detailed narratives, explored issues of family planning, and explained the ways in which BRCA has changed their worldviews.


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