Adult psychological functioning of individuals born with craniofacial anomalies

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1999 Feb;103(2):412-8. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199902000-00008.


This study represents an initial investigation into the adult psychological functioning of individuals born with craniofacial disfigurement. A total of 24 men and women born with a craniofacial anomaly completed paper and pencil measures of body image dissatisfaction, self-esteem, quality of life, and experiences of discrimination. An age- and gender-matched control group of 24 non-facially disfigured adults also completed the measures. As expected, craniofacially disfigured adults reported greater dissatisfaction with their facial appearance than did the control group. Craniofacially disfigured adults also reported significantly lower levels of self-esteem and quality of life. Dissatisfaction with facial appearance, self-esteem, and quality of life were related to self-ratings of physical attractiveness. More than one-third of craniofacially disfigured adults (38 percent) reported experiences of discrimination in employment or social settings. Among disfigured adults, psychological functioning was not related to number of surgeries, although the degree of residual facial deformity was related to increased dissatisfaction with facial appearance and greater experiences of discrimination. Results suggest that adults who were born with craniofacial disfigurement, as compared with non-facially disfigured adults, experience greater dissatisfaction with facial appearance and lower self-esteem and quality of life; however, these experiences do not seem to be universal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept