Parental decision-making and acceptance of newborn bloodspot screening: An exploratory study

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Objective: Newborn bloodspot screening is an internationally established public health measure. Despite this, there is a paucity of information relating to the decision-making process that parents go through when accepting newborn screening. This is important as screening panels are expanding; potentially leading to an increasing amount of complex information. This study sought to understand the factors that influence parental decisions and roles they play in the decision-making process. Patients and Methods: Qualitative thematic evaluation of semi structured interviews with parents whose children had recently undergone newborn screening in the Merseyside and Cheshire region of England, UK. Results: Eighteen interviews with first time parents (n = 12) and those with previous children (n = 6). Seven factors were identified as being either explicitly or implicitly related to parental decision-making: Experience, Attitudes to medicine, Information-seeking behaviour, Perceived knowledge, Attitudes to screening, and Perceived choice, all of which ultimately impact on Perceived decisional quality. Conclusions: These results indicate that while content is important, other contextual factors such as personal experience, perceived choice, and general attitudes toward medicine, are also highly influential. In particular, relationships with key healthcare professionals are central to information collection, attitudes toward screening, and the level of deliberation that is invested in decisions to accept newborn bloodspot screening. © 2013 Nicholls, Southern.




Nicholls, S. G., & Southern, K. W. (2013). Parental decision-making and acceptance of newborn bloodspot screening: An exploratory study. PLoS ONE, 8(11).

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