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Int J Pediatr Endocrinol. 2010;2010:191520. doi: 10.1155/2010/191520. Epub 2010 Oct 5.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: classification of studies employing psychological endpoints.

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Division of Child Behavioral Health, Department of Pediatrics & Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5318, USA.


Psychological outcomes in persons with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) have received substantial attention. The objectives of this paper were to (1) catalog psychological endpoints assessed in CAH outcome studies and (2) classify the conceptual/theoretical model shaping the research design and interpretation of CAH-related psychological effects. A total of 98 original research studies, published between 1955 and 2009, were categorized based on psychological endpoints examined as well as the research design and conceptual model guiding analysis and interpretation of data. The majority of studies (68%) investigated endpoints related to psychosexual differentiation. The preponderance of studies (76%) examined a direct relationship (i.e., inferring causality) between prenatal androgen exposure and psychological outcomes. Findings are discussed in relation to the observed imbalance between theoretical interest in the role of prenatal androgens in shaping psychosexual differentiation and a broader conceptual model that examines the role of other potential factors in mediating or moderating the influence of CAH pathophysiology on psychological outcomes in both affected females and males. The latter approach offers to identify factors amenable to clinical intervention that enhance both health and quality of life outcomes in CAH as well as other disorders of sex development.

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