BACKGROUND:: Management of a cleft of the lip and/or palate (CL/P) involves a multidisciplinary team approach lasting from birth to potentially postskeletal maturity. This condition is complex, with both medical and psychosocial implications that may place individuals with a cleft at higher risk of developing psychosocial problems.
METHODOLOGY:: A self-administered questionnaire was completed by a sample from the Western Australian cleft population comprising 3 age groups: child (n = 100), adolescent (n = 101), and adult (n = 158).
RESULTS:: Public speaking, being photographed, special relationships, and participation in school were identified as the areas most impacted by having a cleft. Hearing and speech were reported to have a higher importance than facial and dental appearance. Participants rated support given to them by their parents as the most important, with high ratings for treatment providers. For teasing, the impact of cleft was significantly higher among participants with cleft lip and palate for both the adolescent and adult age groups. There was little significant difference by gender across the variables, which suggests that males are just as likely to require support as females.
CONCLUSION:: The impact of a cleft across multiple psychosocial domains needs to be recognized and addressed as part of craniofacial team care across age groups.
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