Resiliency and socioemotional functioning in youth receiving surgery for orofacial anomalies

Ryan Richard Ruff, Lacey Sischo, Hillary Broder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Restorative interventions for cleft lip and palate involve annual evaluations, adjunct treatment, and multiple surgeries. The purpose of this study was to investigate the longitudinal impact of cleft surgery on psychosocial functioning among youth with cleft.

METHODS: Data were derived from a 5-year, multicenter, prospective longitudinal study of children with cleft (N = 1196). Children completed psychological inventories for self-concept, anxiety, depression, mastery, and relatedness. Multilevel mixed-effects models were used to analyze the effects of craniofacial surgery for cleft on psychosocial outcomes over time.

RESULTS: There were 1196 participants at baseline, of whom 258 (27.5%) received a surgical intervention prior to their 1st follow-up visit. Approximately 78% of participants had cleft lip and palate, and 22% had cleft palate only. Surgery receipt was significantly associated with lower relatedness (β = -1.48, 95% CI = -2.91, -0.05) and mastery (β = -1.32, 95% CI = -2.49, -0.15) scores, although overall scores appeared to increase over time. Surgery was not related to anxiety (β = -0.15, 95% CI = -1.08, 0.79), depression (β = 0.18, 95% CI = -0.65, 1.01), and self-concept (β = -0.84, 95% CI = -1.83, 0.15). The treatment-time interaction was not significant. Significant differences in psychosocial functioning were found across sex, race/ethnicity, and age groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgery may have negative short-term impacts on psychosocial functioning, although effects may diminish over time. Given the limited postsurgical follow-up period, long-term change in psychological well-being and the moderating effects of surgery may not be fully realized. Further follow-up of children with cleft through adulthood to explore developmental trajectories of psychosocial functioning in more detail is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • oral medicine
  • orofacial anomalies
  • psychosocial aspects of oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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