Parental attitudes regarding carrier testing in children at risk for fragile X syndrome

Am J Med Genet. 1999 Jan 29;82(3):206-11.


Sixty-five parents of individuals affected by fragile X syndrome who attended the National Fragile X Conference in Portland, Oregon (1996), were asked to complete a survey assessing parental level of concern about carrier testing in children at risk for fragile X syndrome. All subjects completed a 15-item paper and pencil Likert response scale measure that was developed specifically for this study. The items included parental rights and duties, psychological adjustment, adaptation, discrimination, harm, childbearing, and interpersonal relationships. The major concern of the parents was that their children have knowledge of their carrier status prior to becoming sexually active and that their children be able to marry informed of their genetic risk. Mothers were significantly more concerned than fathers about raising their children with the knowledge of their carrier status. A sense of parental right to make the decision regarding carrier testing for children was associated with concerns about (1) behavioral or educational problems, (2) knowledge of carrier status prior to sexual activity or marriage, and (3) adjustment of the children to knowledge of their carrier status. As the sample was drawn from a unique population of parents, the results of this survey should be interpreted with caution. The findings of this study suggest a model of parents providing anticipatory guidance for their children to help them adjust to carrier information and for their children to have this knowledge prior to the possibility of reproduction.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics*
  • Fragile X Syndrome / psychology*
  • Genetic Carrier Screening*
  • Genetic Counseling / psychology
  • Humans
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires