Parents’ resolution of their child’s diagnosis: A scoping review

Efrat Sher-Censor, Ravit Shahar-Lahav

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This scoping review focused on parents’ resolution of their reactions to receiving a diagnosis for their child, based on Marvin and Pianta’s model and Reaction to Diagnosis Interview (RDI). We aimed to map the populations examined, the prevalence of parents’ narrated resolution, and what is known about its outcomes and determinants. A structured search identified 47 peer-reviewed papers published between 1992–2021. All employed the RDI and most had a cross-sectional design. Studies focused on a wide range of children’s health and mental health diagnoses. Days to years after receiving the diagnosis, RDI narratives of 18.43% to 72.49% of the parents (44% on average) indicated lack of resolution. Studies reported associations between unresolved narratives and children’s insecure attachment, higher parenting stress, and poorer parental health. However, findings on the associations of narrated resolution with parents’ representations of their child, sensitivity, and psychological symptoms were equivocal, and findings on factors that may shape narrated resolution were limited. To advance the understanding of parents’ narrated resolution and its effects, we recommend researchers employ prospective and longitudinal designs, evaluate narrated resolution as a continuous phenomenon, focus on outcomes derived from attachment theory, and systematically sample families from heterogenous cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-604
Number of pages25
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • RDI
  • Resolution of diagnosis
  • child diagnosis
  • parent-child relationship
  • reaction to diagnosis
  • scoping review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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