A new study has helped to determine the psychosocial effects of cleft lip and/or palate among children and young adults, finding teasing to be a predictor of behavioral problems. This study is published in the latest issue of The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal.
The study included 160 children and young adults with cleft lip and/or palate and an additional 113 with no clefting. Anxiety, self-esteem, depression, behavioral problems, unhappiness with facial appearance, and social functioning—including experience with teasing and bullying and satisfaction with speech—were evaluated.
Individuals with cleft lip and/or palate reported greater symptoms in all areas except anxiety and self-esteem. Having been teased was related to poor psychological functioning, more so than having a cleft lip and/or palate. Psychological assessment should be given to children and young adults with cleft problems, specifically focusing on their experience of teasing, the researchers said.
Through the years, studies have examined the psychosocial implications of cleft lip and palate, but a lack of consensus has proven the results inconclusive. While many previous studies did not use a control group, this study did. Further, this study's researchers chose several psychological behaviors to study instead of just one. The study cases completed several objective questionnaires, leading the researchers to a conclusion without relying on the opinions of parents or health professionals.