Objective: To explore the perspectives of parents of undiagnosed children enrolled in genomic diagnosis research regarding their motivations for enrolling their children, their understanding of the potential burdens and benefits, and the extent to which their experiences ultimately aligned with or diverged from their original expectations. Study design: In-depth interviews were conducted with parents, audio-recorded and transcribed. A structured codebook was applied to each transcript, after which iterative memoing was used to identify themes. Results: Fifty-four parents participated, including 17 (31.5%) whose child received a diagnosis through research. Themes describing parents' expectations and experiences of genomic diagnosis research included (1) the extent to which parents' motivations for participation focused on their hope that it would directly benefit their child, (2) the ways in which parents’ frustrations regarding the research process confused the dual clinical and research goals of their participation, and (3) the limited clinical benefits parents ultimately experienced for their children. Conclusions: Our results suggest that parents of undiagnosed children seeking enrollment in genomic diagnosis research are at risk of a form of therapeutic misconception—in this case, diagnostic misconception. These findings indicate the need to examine the processes and procedures associated with this research to communicate appropriately and balance the potential burdens and benefits of study participation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113537
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • genetics
  • pediatrics
  • rare diseases
  • research ethics
  • therapeutic misconception


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