Objective: To investigate the impact of parental diagnosis of cleft lip and/or palate on factors associated with parental adaptation to having a child with a cleft.
Design: A mixed-methodological, quasi-experimental, causal-comparative research design.
Participants: A total of 27 parents born with a cleft lip and/or palate and 27 parents born without a cleft lip and/or palate completed the study measures.
Outcome measures: The Ways of Coping Questionnaire, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List, and the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory were included along with a researcher-designed, cleft-specific questionnaire.
Results: The cleft-specific questionnaire revealed that parents born with a cleft lip and/or palate reported feelings of guilt significantly more often than did parents without a cleft lip and/or palate. Parents without a cleft reported feeling anxious significantly more often than did parents born with a cleft lip and/or palate. The qualitative aspect of the study yielded further between-group differences. The feeling that their own cleft-related experiences influenced their adjustment to having a child with a cleft emerged as a dominant theme for parents born with a cleft; whereas, parents without a cleft lip and/or palate highlighted the importance of accurate information and positive interactions with clinicians in facilitating adjustment to their situation. No significant between-group differences were found on the standardized measures; however, the study's small sample size increases the risk of type II error and may account for the lack of significant findings.
Conclusions: These findings appear to provide support for the widely held clinical opinion that parental diagnosis of cleft lip and/or palate impacts how parents cope with and adjust to their child's diagnosis.