Visible difference amongst children and adolescents: issues and interventions

Dev Neurorehabil. Apr-Jun 2007;10(2):113-23. doi: 10.1080/13638490701217396.


Whether present at birth or acquired later in life, a visible difference (disfigurement) can have considerable psychological ramifications for children and adolescents. Whilst many young people adapt to the demands placed upon them and appear relatively unaffected, others report difficulties including adverse effects on body image, quality of life, self-esteem and difficulty with social encounters. This review examines the issues experienced by those affected, summarizes the factors identified as exacerbating or ameliorating any difficulties, then considers the particular pressures associated with developmental stages and the issues for family members. The current provision of care, the potential benefit of psychosocial interventions and the challenges faced by researchers in this area are explored.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / psychology*
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / rehabilitation
  • Facial Injuries / psychology*
  • Facial Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Self Concept
  • Social Isolation
  • Social Perception