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Genet Med. 2012 Dec;14(12):963-70. doi: 10.1038/gim.2012.87. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Factors associated with knowledge of and satisfaction with newborn screening education: a survey of mothers.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology & Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



Effective parental education about newborn blood-spot screening may facilitate prompt follow-up, reduce psychosocial harms, and promote trust in screening programs. However, little is known about the aspects of education delivery and content that are of most importance for fostering understanding and meeting parental expectations. We aimed to identify elements of newborn blood-spot screening education and their associations with mothers' knowledge and satisfaction levels.


We conducted a survey (by mail) of 1,712 mothers who were residing in Ontario, Canada, and whose infants had recently undergone newborn blood-spot screening.


We received 750 completed questionnaires (response rate 47%). Factors associated with respondents' higher knowledge of newborn blood-spot screening were higher level of education (odds ratio = 2.79), English being spoken at home (odds ratio = 1.96), receiving an information sheet at the time of newborn blood-spot screening (odds ratio = 1.57), and receiving information about how to interpret the results (odds ratio = 2.65). Factors associated with being satisfied were: receiving information prenatally (odds ratio = 2.35), from a health-care professional (odds ratio = 4.54), or from an information sheet at the time of newborn blood-spot screening (odds ratio = 1.72); and receiving messages about the purpose of screening (odds ratio = 3.78), the communication process (odds ratio = 2.57), the interpretation of the results (odds ratio = 4.19), and sample-handling methods (odds ratio = 3.13).


Promoting mothers' understanding and meeting their expectations with respect to education about newborn blood-spot screening may require greater engagement with prenatal providers. It also calls for a greater emphasis on communicating with mothers about how blood samples are handled and about the meaning of the test results.

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