Circumcision: We Have Heard From the Experts; Now Let's Hear From the Parents

In a study conducted by researchers in Los Angeles, California, 149 parents (mostly mothers) of male children younger than 3 years old were recruited from three clinical pediatric practices in the Los Angeles area. The practices were located in (1) a predominately white, suburban, high-income community (La Canada), (2) an inner-city area serving a black community (Inglewood) and (3) a low-income area serving a predominately Hispanic community (Childrens Hospital Los Angeles/CHLA).

The parents were surveyed from February 1999 to April 1999 using a 25-item questionnaire designed by the researchers. Items related to the circumcision status of the child, reasons affecting the decision for or against circumcision, satisfaction with the decision, and care provided by their particular medical community.

The data were analyzed and results indicated that of the 149 boys, 68 were not circumcised (46%) and 81 were circumcised (54%). Most circumcisions (75%) took place before the child was 8 weeks old. Circumcision status and location of pediatric practice were significantly related. The percentage of parents who decided to have their sons circumcised at La Canada, Inglewood, and CHLA, respectively, were 83%, 49%, and 16%. Parents who did not have their son circumcised were less likely to be satisfied with their decision. There was also a rather strong relationship between the site of pediatric practice and satisfaction with the decision for or against circumcision. Study participants at the La Canada site were more satisfied with their decision than those at the other two sites. Participants in Inglewood and CHLA felt they were not adequately informed about the procedure and were more likely to have second thoughts about their decision.

The full research paper is available online here:

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