Parent-reported outcomes in young children with disorders/differences of sex development

Int J Pediatr Endocrinol. 2020;2020:3. doi: 10.1186/s13633-020-0073-x. Epub 2020 Feb 14.


Background: There is a paucity of tools that can be used in routine clinical practice to assess the psychosocial impact of Disorders/Differences of Sex Development (DSD) on parents and children.

Objective: To evaluate the use of short Parent Self-Report and Parent Proxy-Report questionnaires that can be used in the outpatient setting.

Methods: Previously validated DSD-specific and generic items were combined to develop a Parent Self-Report questionnaire and a Parent Proxy-Report questionnaire for children under 7 years. Of 111 children approached at one tertiary paediatric hospital, the parents of 95 children (86%) with DSD or other Endocrine conditions completed these questionnaires.

Results: Questionnaires took under 10 min to complete and were found to be easy to understand. Compared to reference, fathers of children with DSD reported less stress associated with Clinic Visits (p = 0.02) and managing their child's Medication (p = 0.04). However, parents of children with either DSD or other Endocrine conditions reported more symptoms of Depression (p = 0.03). Mothers of children with DSD reported greater Future Concerns in relation to their child's condition (median SDS - 0.28; range - 2.14, 1.73) than mothers of children with other Endocrine conditions (SDS 1.17; - 2.00, 1.73) (p = 0.02). Similarly, fathers of children with DSD expressed greater Future Concerns (median SDS -1.60; - 4.21, 1.00) than fathers of children with other Endocrine conditions (SDS 0.48; - 2.13, 1.52) (p = 0.04).

Conclusion: DSD was associated with greater parental concerns over the child's future than other Endocrine conditions. Brief parent-report tools in DSD can be routinely used in the outpatient setting to assess and monitor parent and patient needs.

Keywords: DSD; PRO; Psychosocial adjustment; Screening.