We explored the psychological adjustment of children with bladder or cloacal exstrophy.Materials and Methods
We assessed 29 subjects with a mean age plus or minus standard deviation of 7.8 +/- 3.97 years using age appropriate standard psychological instruments. Psychological adjustment scores in the exstrophy group were compared to the norms of the various instruments. Subjects were divided into dichotomous groups according to several medical and demographic factors. For each factor the differences between the means of the 2 groups on the outcome variables were calculated using a t test.Results
Children with exstrophy perceived their appearance more positively than the norm. Older children performed more poorly than younger children in adaptive behavior, specifically in skills related to functioning in school. Children who achieved continence after age 4 years were more likely to have problems with acting out behavior. There were no differences in adjustment in boys versus girls, bladder versus cloacal exstrophy, type of continence strategy or gender reassignment versus no reassignment.Conclusions
Children with exstrophy did not have clinical psychopathology. Differences existed in adaptive and acting out behavior rather than depression or anxiety, suggesting that improved outcomes may be achieved through a focus on normal adaptation rather than on potential psychological distress.