October 1990

Reactions of Mothers and Medical Professionals to a Film About Down Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Genetics and Child Development Center, Department of Maternal and Child Health, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH (Drs Cooley and Moeschler); and the Ahmanson Pediatric Center, Medical Genetics Birth Defects Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA School of Medicine (Dr Graham), Los Angeles, Calif. Ms Graham resides in Los Angeles.

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(10):1112-1116. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150340056023

• Parents, genetic counselors, and nurses were shown an 18-minute videotaped discussion involving parents of persons with Down syndrome and were asked to complete an evaluation. Some of the statistically significant differences were as follows: 89% of mothers believed that the film was an accurate portrayal of parental attitudes compared with 14% of the genetic counselors and 40% of the nurses; 48% of genetic counselors believed that problems outweigh the benefits in parenting a child with Down syndrome, but 94% of mothers and 83% of nurses thought that the benefits predominated; and 56% of genetic counselors believed that parents of a child with Down syndrome would choose to abort a subsequent affected fetus while only 8% of parents and 10% of nurses agreed. It is important that medical professionals have a balanced and accurate view of the impact of Down syndrome on families.

(AJDC. 1990;144:1112-1116)