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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 980121, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/980121
Research Article

Parental Reports of Stigma Associated with Child’s Disorder of Sex Development

1Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5456, USA
2Department of Human Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7088, USA

Received 29 November 2014; Accepted 19 February 2015

Academic Editor: Michael Horowitz

Copyright © 2015 Aimee M. Rolston et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Disorders of sex development (DSD) are congenital conditions in which chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomic sex development is atypical. DSD-associated stigma is purported to threaten positive psychosocial adaptation. Parental perceptions of DSD-related stigma were assessed in 154 parents of 107 children (newborn–17 years) questionnaire comprising two scales, child-focused and parent-focused, and three subscales, perceived stigmatization, future worries, and feelings about the child’s condition. Medical chart excerpts identified diagnoses and clinical management details. Stigma scale scores were generally low. Parents of children with DSD reported less stigma than parents of children with epilepsy; however, a notable proportion rated individual items in the moderate to high range. Stigma was unrelated to child’s age or the number of DSD-related surgeries. Child-focused stigma scores exceeded parent-focused stigma and mothers reported more stigma than fathers, with a moderate level of agreement. Within 46,XY DSD, reported stigma was higher for children reared as girls. In conclusion, in this first quantitative study of ongoing experiences, DSD-related stigma in childhood and adolescence, while limited in the aggregate, is reported at moderate to high levels in specific areas. Because stigma threatens positive psychosocial adaptation, systematic screening for these concerns should be considered and, when reported, targeted for psychoeducational counseling.