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Objective: To determine the psychosocial adjustment of children born with a cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P). Design: Longitudinal analyses of psychosocial outcomes and cross-sectional comparison with published norms. Setting: Retrospective clinical audit at a UK cleft center. Participants: Data available for 1174 participants born with a CL/P at ages 5 (n = 658), 10 (n = 415), and 15 (n = 171), with longitudinal data for a subset of the sample at 5 and 10 (n = 168) and 10 and 15 (n = 49). Main Outcome Measure: Parental-report Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Results: The majority of children scored in the average range for overall adjustment. Children born with CL/P had significantly higher mean overall SDQ scores relative to normative data at ages 5 and 10. Longitudinal analysis highlighted that adjustment at age 5 was a significant predictor of adjustment at age 10. Gender was another significant predictor of adjustment at age 5 and 10, with boys reporting more problems than girls. However, effect sizes for the impact of age and gender were small. Cleft type was not a significant predictor of SDQ score at any age. Conclusions: Children aged 5 and 10 years of age born with a cleft may experience greater overall psychosocial difficulties than the general population. The domains on the SDQ on which children experience difficulty may be influenced by age and gender. Future research should focus on the specific impact of cleft-related issues, including speech, language, and hearing difficulties, on psychosocial adjustment.

Original publication




Journal article


Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal

Publication Date





1280 - 1290