Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: a qualitative study on disease and treatment, doubts, anguishes and relationships (part I)

OBJECTIVE: To understand the meanings/thoughts of a group of parents, patients and physicians regarding congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), and to evaluate their anguishes, doubts and anxieties. METHODS: We selected 21 subjects: 7 pediatric endocrinologists from five Brazilian Public Health System institutions, 9 parents and 6 patients with CAH, according to the qualitative research model. Three of the studied categories are presented: "disease and treatment", "doubts and anguishes" and "relationships." RESULTS: Parents' main anguishes relate to the situation of an unnamed sex at birth. A sense of loneliness when dealing with the disease is the major anguish among patients, whereas physicians show hopelessness with the passivity parents and patients. CONCLUSIONS: The apparent submissiveness of patients/parents during consultations must be evaluated cautiously. University Hospitals outpatient clinic dynamics have a direct effect on this behavior: physicians do not talk openly with parents who in turn do not talk with their children, whereas patients chose to protect their parents from additional suffering. Thus, some miscommunication is noticeable among these subjects. These observations suggest that a special mindful measure should be built for these patients.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia; anomalies of sex differentiation; treatment; psychology; psychoanalysis

Sociedade Brasileira de Endocrinologia e Metabologia Rua Botucatu, 572 - conjunto 83, 04023-062 São Paulo, SP, Tel./Fax: (011) 5575-0311 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil