Communicating a diagnosis of cerebral palsy: caregiver satisfaction and stress

Pediatr Neurol. 2006 Dec;35(6):408-14. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2006.07.006.


As part of the implementation of a population-based registry of children with cerebral palsy, caregiver satisfaction with the process by which diagnosis was originally communicated by a professional was assessed. Satisfaction with various aspects of the diagnosis process was assessed using a five-point Likert scale and related to child, family, and situational characteristics. Measures were then correlated with current caregiver stress as measured objectively by the Parenting Stress Inventory. During the registration process, 59 consecutive caregivers (55 mothers) were questioned. Overall, 62% (35/59) were satisfied with the disclosure process, with satisfaction ranging from 69% (41/59-hopefulness) to 92% (54/59-honesty) for professional qualities, and from 61% (36/59-sufficient information provided) to 78% (46/59-understandable) for disclosure content. Satisfaction was related to the quantity and content of information given at the disclosure session. Parenting Stress Inventory scores, both total and for parental distress, correlated significantly with both the severity of the child's cerebral palsy and caregiver satisfaction with varying elements of the disclosure process. Overall caregiver satisfaction with the process by which a diagnosis of cerebral palsy is given appears to be good. Together with the severity of a child's intrinsic cerebral palsy, it appears to relate to later parental adjustment to a setting of chronic disability, suggesting a portal through which improvements in information delivery may result in better familial adaptation to disability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Palsy / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Registries
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Truth Disclosure