Screening for cystic fibrosis is highly controversial. Concerns have been expressed that newborn screening may cause mothers, who had considered their child to be healthy before diagnosis, to overprotect their child. Some critics of screening also suggest that a period of delay from onset of symptoms to diagnosis may help a mother adjust to the reality of the child's lethal condition. This study compared the strength of overprotective child rearing attitudes of 29 mothers whose children were screened (13 had symptomatic children and 16 asymptomatic children) with the attitudes of 29 mothers whose children were diagnosed after the onset of symptoms. Results indicate that newborn screening had not increased a mother's tendency to overprotect her child with cystic fibrosis and in some cases the tendency had decreased. Further, delay in diagnosis when screening was not conducted usually caused mothers considerable personal distress.
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