Interceptive orthodontic treatment in bullied adolescents and its impact on self-esteem and oral-health-related quality of life

Eur J Orthod. 2013 Oct;35(5):615-21. doi: 10.1093/ejo/cjs051. Epub 2012 Jul 28.


The aim of this follow-up study was to measure the self-reported frequency and severity of bullying in orthodontic patients previously identified as being bullied, who have commenced interceptive orthodontic treatment, and to investigate the effect on an individual's self-esteem and oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). Forty-three adolescents previously identified as being bullied due to the presence of a malocclusion were invited to take part in a follow-up study following commencement of orthodontic treatment at three UK Hospitals. Validated questionnaires were used to assess the self-reported frequency and severity of bullying, self-esteem and OHRQoL. The participation rate at follow-up was 63 per cent. Following commencement of orthodontic treatment, 21 (78 per cent) participants reported they were currently no longer being bullied due to the presence of their malocclusion. In comparison to their pre-treatment scores, participants reported fewer functional limitations (P = 0.013), decreased emotional (P < 0.001) and social impact (P < 0.001), and improved overall oral health (P = 0.03) and OHRQoL (P = 0.002). In addition, an improvement in functional limitations (P = 0.021), emotional (P = 0.008), social impact (P = 0.008) and OHRQoL (P = 0.02) was reported by participants who were no longer being bullied in comparison to those who continued to report bullying. There appears to be no effect on an individual's self-esteem. Orthodontic treatment may have a positive effect on adolescents experiencing bullying related to their malocclusion and their OHRQoL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bullying / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malocclusion / psychology*
  • Malocclusion / therapy*
  • Oral Health*
  • Orthodontics, Interceptive*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires