The influence of Down syndrome related information on attitudes toward selective reproduction
The aim of the current study was twofold: first, to examine the relationship between participants’ attitudes and their decisions about selective reproduction; second, to examine the influence of information about Down syndrome (DS) on these same decisions. As a preliminary step in investigating the influence of attitudes and information presentation on selective reproduction decisions, the current study examined the hypothetical decisions of female undergraduate students. Although presenting more positive information about DS did not appear to influence hypothetical decisions about selective reproduction, participants’ attitudes were related to these decisions. Specifically, attitudes toward persons with DS were related to decisions about prenatal screening. For decisions about prenatal testing and selective abortion, though, perceptions of parenting a child with DS mediated the relationship between attitudes and reproductive intentions. These findings suggest that women may be more likely to personalize their decisions about prenatal testing and selective reproduction by considering their perceptions of parenting a child with DS. These findings also suggest that informed decision making may require the inclusion of different information at the different decision stages (i.e., screening, testing, and selective abortion). In order to facilitate informed decision making, and in an attempt to ensure that attitudes toward persons with DS are informed by multiple perspectives, expanded information about DS should be included in prenatal screening protocols. Similarly, because perceptions of parenting appear to play a role in later decisions, information about raising a child with DS should be included in prenatal testing and selective abortion counselling sessions.
prenatal testing, Down syndrome, decision making
Master of Arts (M.A.)