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Differences in adjustment by child developmental stage among caregivers of children with disorders of sex development

Stephanie E Hullmann1*, David A Fedele1, Cortney Wolfe-Christensen2, Larry L Mullins1 and Amy B Wisniewski3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 74078, USA

2 Department of Pediatric Urology, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, Michigan, 48201, USA

3 Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73104, USA

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International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology 2011, 2011:16  doi:10.1186/1687-9856-2011-16

Published: 10 November 2011



The current study sought to compare levels of overprotection and parenting stress reported by caregivers of children with disorders of sex development at four different developmental stages.


Caregivers (N = 59) of children with disorders of sex development were recruited from specialty clinics and were asked to complete the Parent Protection Scale and Parenting Stress Index/Short Form as measures of overprotective behaviors and parenting stress, respectively.


Analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) were conducted to examine differences between caregiver report of overprotection and parenting stress. Results revealed that caregivers of infants and toddlers exhibited more overprotective behaviors than caregivers of children in the other age groups. Further, caregivers of adolescents experienced significantly more parenting stress than caregivers of school-age children, and this effect was driven by personal distress and problematic parent-child interactions, rather than having a difficult child.


These results suggest that caregivers of children with disorders of sex development may have different psychosocial needs based upon their child's developmental stage and based upon the disorder-related challenges that are most salient at that developmental stage.

disorder of sex development; parenting stress; overprotection