Objective The aim of this study was two-fold: to assess psychological functioning, interactional competencies, and sleep patterns in children and adolescents with cleft lip and palate (CLP); to compare these results with those from age- and gender-matched controls. It was hypothesized that participants with CLP would show increased difficulties in psychological functioning, more interactional difficulties and poorer sleep patterns.
Methods Thirty-two children and adolescents with CLP, and 34 controls were recruited. Ages ranged from 6 to 16 years. For psychosocial assessment, the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and a questionnaire on interactional competencies (PIELCQ) were completed; for sleep assessment, a sleep log was completed for seven consecutive nights.
Results Participants with and without CLP did not differ with respect to emotional problems, conduct problems, or hyperactivity. With respect to interactional competencies, participants with CLP were six times more likely to report difficulties. Unfavorable sleep patterns were associated with psychosocial strain, but not with the presence of CLP.
Conclusions Results indicate that children and adolescents with CLP may complain about sleep irregularities as much as people without CLP. In adolescence, the presence of CLP may cause increased difficulties. Consequently, skill training to improve context-related social competencies may be appropriate.