OBJECTIVES: This cross-sectional study assessed psychological adjustment and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children and adolescents with congenital or acquired facial differences and identified potential predictors of adjustment.
METHODS: Data were obtained from 88 children, ages 9 months to 16 years, by means of parent questionnaires (n = 86) and standardized interviews with children ≥7 years old (n = 31). Evaluation measures included the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), KIDSCREEN-27, TNO-AZL Preschool Quality of Life Questionnaire (TAPQOL), and Perceived Stigmatization Questionnaire.
RESULTS: Psychological adjustment, as measured by the CBCL, was within norms. Parent-reported HRQOL was good in preschool children. Parent- and self-reported HRQOL of participants 7-16 years old was impaired in several dimensions, including psychological well-being. Psychological adjustment (especially internalizing behavior problems) and HRQOL were predicted primarily by perceived stigmatization.
CONCLUSIONS: Identification of stigma experiences and appropriate support may be crucial to enhancing psychological adjustment and quality of life in children with facial disfigurement.