Background When a diagnosis of congenital anomaly (CA) is made, parents are confronted with new and complex medical information, which may impact their parental adjustment. However, few studies have explored the role of information concerning the CA in parental adjustment, during the transition to parenthood. Objective/hypothesis This study aimed to characterize both parents' perceptions of information concerning the CA and to investigate their role in maternal and paternal adjustment, one month after the disclosure and six months post-birth. Methods Thirty six couples whose infants were prenatally- or postnatally diagnosed with a CA participated in this prospective longitudinal study. During both assessment times (Time 1: one-month after the disclosure; Time 2: six-month post-birth), they answered the Brief Symptom Inventory-18, the EUROHIS-QOL-8, and other specific questions to assess parents' information perceptions. Results Mothers were more satisfied than fathers (p <.01) with the amount of information that was received at the disclosure, although mothers and fathers reported similar levels of comprehension of information. Six-month post-birth, both parents were similarly satisfied with the information that was received, although mothers sought significantly more (p <.01) additional information. Both maternal and paternal adjustment were significantly associated with maternal perceptions of information concerning CA. Conclusion Health professionals should recognize the important role of information concerning CA in parental adjustment and tailor their communication practices in order to promote parents' satisfaction and comprehension of the medical information. Despite the prominent influence of maternal perceptions on parental adjustment, both parents should be included in the communication process.
- Comprehension of information
- Diagnosis of congenital anomaly
- Parental adjustment
- Parents' information perceptions
- Satisfaction with information