A study published in the July issue of The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal reports that children and young adults who are teased about having a cleft lip or palate may suffer from psychosocial and behavioral problems.

The study included 160 children and young adults with cleft lip 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 or palate reported greater symptoms in all areas except anxiety and self-esteem. Having been teased was related to poor psychological functioning, moreso than having the cleft lip or palate.

Researchers say that psychological assessment that focuses on the experience of teasing should be given to children and young adults with cleft problems to  increase their self-esteem.

[newswise.com, September 1, 2006]