Perceptions of appearance and speech by adolescent patients with cleft lip and palate and by their parents

R. P. Strauss, H. Broder, R. W. Helms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study surveyed 102 patients with cleft lip, cleft palate, or cleft lip and cleft palate (ages 13 to 19) and their parents to assess satisfaction with appearance, speech ability, and intelligibility. The data were based upon standardized interviews conducted at a cleft palate treatment center, using simple questions with high face validity. Surgical experience was high among this sample, as reflected by the finding that the majority of patients (55.7%) had had three or more operations on the face or mouth. Patient ratings of facial appearance showed that most patients were very pleased (59.3%) or moderately pleased (13.2%); others were somewhat (18.7%) or very (8.8%) disappointed. Many parents indicated that their children expressed occasional (22.0%) or frequent (27.5%) concerns about appearance. Nearly all patients (91.9%) felt that their operations had accomplished what they expected, though some of the cleft lip patients (35.7%) and their parents (43.9%) were less than very pleased with the appearance of the lip. When asked how pleased they were with the way they presently talked, most patients (69.1%) were very pleased, though some disappointment was expressed. Although often pleased with their current speech status, many patients rated themselves as only moderately understandable (19.1%) or as not understandable (8.5%). No significant gender effects were found in satisfaction, appearance, or speech ratings. There were no significant differences found between parent and child ratings. The findings indicate that at a center delivering teambased cleft palate care, both adolescent patients and their parents have considerable concerns about appearance and speech results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-342
Number of pages8
JournalCleft Palate Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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