A review of the psychosocial effects of false-positive results on parents and current communication practices in newborn screening

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2006 Oct;29(5):677-82. doi: 10.1007/s10545-006-0381-1. Epub 2006 Aug 17.


As more states adopt expanded newborn screening for metabolic disorders, the overall number of false positives increases. False-positive screening results have been associated with increased anxiety and stress in parents of infants who require follow-up testing, even after the infant's good health is confirmed. This article reviews the literature on the negative impact of false-positive newborn screening results on parents, along with a review of current communication practices for follow-up screening. The results of this review suggest that parental stress and anxiety can be reduced with improved education and communication to parents, specifically at the time of follow-up screening. Communication strategies with sample materials are proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Communication
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Family Health*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Metabolic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*
  • Parents
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*