Anxiety and prenatal testing: Do women with soft ultrasound findings have increased anxiety compared to women with other indications for testing?

Jennifer Hoskovec*, Joan M. Mastrobattista, Dennis Johnston, Anthony Kerrigan, Patricia Robbins-Furman, Catherine A Wicklund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether there is a difference in anxiety levels in women referred for soft ultrasound findings, AMA, and abnormal serum marker screens, all of whom have a similar risk for chromosome abnormalities, in order to provide an understanding of patients' anxiety, which may enhance the genetic counseling process. Methods: Two self-administered questionnaires were completed after the genetic counseling session. Participants were recruited from multiple prenatal clinics throughout Houston, Texas. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y was used to measure anxiety in study participants. Both state and trait anxiety were assessed. Differences between groups were examined using one-way analysis of variance, crosstabulation, chi-square, and Tukey multiple comparisons analysis. A p-value of <0.05 was considered significant. Results: Two hundred fifteen women participated in the study: 124 AMA, 55 abnormal maternal serum screens, and 36 soft ultrasound findings. Our findings revealed that women with soft ultrasound findings and abnormal maternal serum screens had significantly higher state anxiety than women who are AMA. State anxiety in women with soft ultrasound findings was not significantly different from women with abnormal maternal serum screens. No significant difference was found between the three groups for trait anxiety. Perceived risk, decision to undergo amniocentesis, education level, and income were factors that significantly affected the women's anxiety scores. However, none of these factors proved to be successful indicators of state or trait anxiety. Conclusion: A woman's referral indication is associated with different levels of anxiety as compared to the actual numerical risk for chromosome abnormalities presented during a genetic counseling session.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


  • Anxiety
  • Genetic counseling
  • Soft ultrasound markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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