Illness uncertainty is a salient experience for caregivers of children with disorders/differences of sex development (DSD) presenting with ambiguous genitalia; however, no validated measure of illness uncertainty exists for this unique population. Thus, the current study aimed to preliminarily identify the factor structure of the Parental Perception of Uncertainty Scale (PPUS) in caregivers of children with DSD presenting with ambiguous genitalia and examine the convergent validity of the PPUS.
Participants included 115 caregivers (Mage = 32.12 years, SD = 6.54; 57% mothers) of children (<2-year-olds) diagnosed with DSD participating in a larger, longitudinal study. Caregivers completed the PPUS as well as self-report measures of anxious, depressive, and posttraumatic stress symptoms. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted.
Exploratory factor analysis results indicated that a 23-item 1-factor solution was the most parsimonious and theoretically sound factor structure (α = 0.92). Convergent validity analyses demonstrated further support for the use of the 23-item 1-factor solution over the original PPUS factor structure.
These results demonstrate the preliminary clinical and research utility of the PPUS with caregivers of children with DSD presenting with ambiguous genitalia. The PPUS may benefit from further refinement through qualitative research and item adaptation to capture uncertainties unique to DSD presenting with ambiguous genitalia. In addition, future research should replicate the proposed factor structure using confirmatory factor analysis with a separate, larger sample of caregivers of children with DSD to confirm the factor structure.