TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Some young people born
with a cleft lip or cleft palate adjust better than others, a new
Researchers conducted a mail-in survey of British mothers and
their children, aged 11 to 16, who had a cleft lip and/or
Factors that negatively affected adolescents' social and
psychological adjustment included having negative social
experiences; speech problems, particularly difficulty in being
understood; dissatisfaction with their appearance; being male; and
using social withdrawal as a coping strategy.
The researchers also found that poor adjustment among mothers
was associated with poor adjustment among adolescents with cleft
Cleft lip/palate is a birth defect that occurs when the lip or
the palate (the roof of the mouth) fail to close properly during
fetal development. According to the March of Dimes, about 6,800
U.S. babies are born with a cleft lip, palate or both annually.
Cleft lip/palate can be treated with surgery. Babies and
children with the condition may have difficult feeding, have
frequent ear infections and hearing loss, speech difficulties and
The study was published recently in the
Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal.
The findings may help identify and develop new ways to help
adolescents with cleft lip and/or palate and their families, such
as programs that help decrease anxiety, increase confidence and
help families cope, the researchers said.
The March of Dimes has more about
cleft lip and palate.