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Attitudinal ambivalence towards Down's syndrome and uncertainty in prenatal testing and termination intentions

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Publication details

JournalJournal of reproductive and infant psychology
DatePublished - Jul 2011
Issue number3
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)250-261
Original languageEnglish


This study aimed to investigate the relationship between attitudinal ambivalence towards Down's syndrome (DS) and prenatal testing and termination intentions. Intentions towards using a screening test, a diagnostic test and termination of pregnancy for DS were collected from 140 pregnant women along with their attitudes and attitudinal ambivalence towards the condition. Women who were unsure about diagnostic testing and termination were more likely to hold ambivalent attitudes towards DS than were women who gave a definite yes or no response. In particular, a higher level of ambivalence about how a child with DS might impact on parental quality of life was significantly associated with an uncertain attitude towards termination of pregnancy. Qualitative data suggested that ambivalence towards DS was associated with a desire to make diagnostic testing and termination decisions with a significant other. The findings from this study inform debate on the link between ambivalence and informed choice and have implications for supporting prenatal testing decisions in women who hold ambivalent attitudes towards parenting a child with DS.

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