Psychological correlates of decision-making during prenatal diagnosis: A prospective study

Natascia Brondino, Gabriele Colombini, Niccolò Morandotti, Francesca Podavini, Giulia De Vidovich, Manuela Formica, Alessia Arossa, Annalisa De Silvestri, Laura Montanari, Edgardo Caverzasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Decision-making during prenatal diagnosis has not been extensively studied. We aimed to determine psychological correlates and level of decisional conflict following prenatal diagnosis. Method: A total of 159 pregnant women were consecutively enrolled. All participants completed three questionnaires (the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, the Berlin Social Support scales and the Decisional Conflict scale) at three time points (T1-waiting period between prenatal testing and disclosure of the results; T2-decision phase within 3 days from test result disclosure; T3-digestion period within 3 weeks from disclosure). Results: Women with fetal anomaly who terminate pregnancy were significantly more anxious and depressed than controls at each time point. Additionally, women with a normal fetus who terminate pregnancy presented higher level of anxiety and depression compared with controls at T2. Women who terminated pregnancy showed increased uncertainty scores at T2 and T3. Anxious and depressed individuals at T2 (decision period) were more uncertain about their choice at T3 compared to women with normal levels of anxiety and depression. Conclusion: The decision to terminate pregnancy, irrespective of test results, may determine emotional distress and psychiatric morbidity. Women who were anxious and depressed at decision appeared to be more uncertain about their choices as time passed by. A careful assessment of women during prenatal diagnosis should be useful to identify women who may benefit from psychological support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Anxiety
  • Decision-making
  • Depression
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology


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