Gender and Satisfaction with Appearance in Children with Craniofacial Anomalies

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Although children with craniofacial anomalies appear to have relatively high self-esteem, research has identified gender differences in psychosocial outcomes, including self-concept, suggesting that girls with craniofacial anomalies may be at an increased risk. In addition, though parents make important medical and aesthetic decisions for their children, it is unclear whether they are attuned to their children's perceptions of their appearance.


The current study assessed self-ratings and parent proxy ratings of child satisfaction with the appearance of both the face and the body among 74 children with craniofacial anomalies (50 percent boys). Data were collected in a multidisciplinary clinic setting.


The authors identified that ratings provided by parents and children, and particularly parents and daughters, were uncorrelated. Furthermore, whereas girls’ dissatisfaction with the appearance of their faces was associated with negative psychosocial outcomes, these associations were not significant among boys. Finally, results obtained for satisfaction with the appearance of the face were largely replicated for satisfaction with appearance of the body, suggesting that children with craniofacial anomalies and their parents may apply more holistic criteria to evaluating their appearance.


Considered together, the findings of this study highlight the importance of engaging both parents and children in discussions about craniofacial anomalies and possible reconstruction and suggest the need for future research on the intersection of gender and craniofacial anomalies in child psychosocial functioning.

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