Psychological Adjustment of Parents of Children Born with Atypical Genitalia 1 Year after Genitoplasty

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Abstract

Purpose:

We examined the psychological adjustment of parents of children born with moderate to severe genital atypia 12 months after their child underwent genitoplasty.

Materials and Methods:

Parents were recruited longitudinally from a multicenter collaboration of 10 pediatric hospitals with specialty care for children with disorders/differences of sex development and/or congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Parents completed measures of depressive and anxious symptoms, illness uncertainty, quality of life, posttraumatic stress and decisional regret.

Results:

Compared to levels of distress at baseline (before genitoplasty) and 6 months after genitoplasty, data from 25 mothers and 20 fathers indicated significant improvements in all psychological distress variables. However, a subset of parents continued endorsing clinically relevant distress. Some level of decisional regret was endorsed by 28% of parents, although the specific decision that caused regret was not specified.

Conclusions:

Overall the majority of parents were coping well 1 year after their child underwent genitoplasty. Level of decisional regret was related to having a bachelor's level of education, increased levels of illness uncertainty preoperatively and persistent illness uncertainty at 12 months after genitoplasty but was unrelated to postoperative complications.

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