Psychologist Susan Waisbren, PhD and Elizabeth Gurian, MS in Children's Division of Genetics interviewed 173 families who had received false-positive screening results and a comparison group of 67 families with normal newborn screening results.
Although mothers in the false-positive group were interviewed at least six months after their child's diagnosis had been ruled out, they reported more worry about their child's future and rated themselves less healthy than mothers in the comparison group. Fifteen percent said their child needed extra parental care, versus 3 percent of mothers in the comparison group. After adjustment for socioeconomic factors, both mothers and fathers in the false-positive group had higher scores on the standardized Parenting Stress Index (PSI); 11 percent of mothers (versus no mothers in the comparison group) scored in the clinical range, in which treatment might be prescribed.
Waisbren and Gurian also found that false-positive tests affected the parent-child relationship: parents in the false-positive group scored more highly on two subscales of the PSI: a Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction scale and a Difficult Child scale. (The first asks parents to rate their agreement with statements like "I expected to have closer and warmer feelings for my child, and this bothers me"; the second has st
Contact: Jamie Newton
Children's Hospital Boston