Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Risk and Protective Factors for Psychological Distress in Families Following a Diagnosis of Cleft Lip and/or Palate

Stock, Nicola Marie; Costa, Bruna; White, Paul; Rumsey, Nichola


Paul White
Associate Professor in Applied Statistics


© 2019, American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. Objectives: Despite the potential psychological impact of a diagnosis of cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) on parents, few large-scale studies currently exist. Utilizing data extracted from The Cleft Collective Birth Cohort Study, the current study aimed to examine the psychological impact of the diagnosis on parent and family functioning and to identify risk and/or protective factors contributing to parental adjustment in order to inform future psychological intervention. Methods: Parent-reported questionnaire data were extracted for 1163 parents (644 mothers and 519 fathers). Outcome measures included the PedsQL-Family Impact Module, the Perceived Stress Scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and a condition-specific tool designed by the Psychology Clinical Excellence Network. Results: Overall, findings suggest that parents adjust well to the diagnosis. Factors found to be protective against psychological distress for both mothers and fathers included a positive life orientation, satisfaction with health care, and relationship satisfaction. Close friendships were also protective against depression in mothers. Risk factors for mothers included the presence of a prior mental health condition, and stressful life events during pregnancy. Risk factors for fathers included being older at the time of conception, and recently being absent from work. Conclusions: Findings suggest a need for appropriate psychological screening of both parents following a diagnosis of CL/P and emphasize the importance of coordinated multidisciplinary care for psychological health. Preventative models of intervention to strengthen familial relationships and build resilience require further investigation.


Stock, N. M., Costa, B., White, P., & Rumsey, N. (2020). Risk and Protective Factors for Psychological Distress in Families Following a Diagnosis of Cleft Lip and/or Palate. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 57(1), 88-98.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 12, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 4, 2019
Publication Date 2020-01
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2019
Journal Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Print ISSN 1055-6656
Electronic ISSN 1545-1569
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 1
Pages 88-98
Keywords cleft lip and palate, cohort study, parental wellbeing, family resilience, The Cleft Collective, visible difference
Public URL
Additional Information Additional Information : © 2019. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications


You might also like

Downloadable Citations