Background/Purpose: Diagnosis disclosure is an important clinical issue in developmental disabilities, which may influence parents' ability to cope with their child's conditions. This paper presents the content and patterns of diagnosis-informed counseling for mothers of children with autism and investigates the determinants for maternal satisfaction with this counseling, in order to improve clinical practice. Methods: Mothers of 151 children, aged 3-12 years, with DSM-IV autistic disorder, confirmed by the Chinese version of the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, were assessed. We collected information about the mothers' experience with diagnosis-informed counseling, their personality characteristics, and the extent to which they were satisfied with the counseling. Results: Satisfaction with diagnosis-informed counseling was related more to the context of the counseling, including the attitude of the counselors and the timing and duration of counseling, than to its content. Parents' social desirability, educational level, and employment status were negatively associated with their satisfaction with counseling. However, immediate emotion, neuroticism, and extroversion did not have a significant effect on the satisfaction with counseling. Approximately 60% of the mothers preferred to be informed of having an autistic child after the diagnosis had been confirmed. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that more efforts are needed to improve the quality of diagnosis-informed counseling in autism, particularly in the context of breaking the news to mothers of children with autism. Future study could further examine the moderating effect of diagnostic subtype of autism spectrum disorders, treatment response, or social support on maternal satisfaction with diagnosis-informed counseling (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00494754).
- Informed counseling
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