OBJECTIVES: We evaluated relationships among physical and psychological indicators and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQOL) in youths with cleft.
METHODS: We recruited youths aged 7 to 18 years with cleft palate (n = 282) or cleft lip and palate (n = 918) and their caregivers into a 5-year observational investigation at 6 US treatment centers from 2009 to 2011. At baseline, youths completed surveys to assess psychological status. After clinical evaluation, 433 youths received a recommendation for surgery. We developed structural models from the baseline data incorporating age, gender, race, and cleft diagnosis to examine direct relationships between depressive symptoms and, in separate models, self-concept and sense of mastery and OHRQOL. Subsequent models examined the possible mediating effect of surgical recommendation.
RESULTS: Depressive symptoms were negatively and self-concept and self-efficacy were positively associated with OHRQOL. Surgical recommendation appeared to mediate the effect of psychological well-being, but not depression, on OHRQOL, even after adjustment for cleft diagnosis. In some models, individual-level characteristics were significant.
CONCLUSIONS: Path analyses support the theoretical model and underscore the importance of examining positive psychosocial characteristics such as resiliency and self-concept in this patient population.