Psychosocial Outcomes in Children With and Without Non-Syndromic Craniosynostosis: Findings From Two Studies

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To evaluate the hypothesis that children with craniosynostosis and their parents have differences in psychosocial outcomes, as compared with an unaffected control group.


Two studies were conducted, both which followed children born with and without craniosynostosis. Study 1 ascertained affected children from clinics, and study 2 ascertained affected children from a population-based study of birth defects.


Study 1 included 22 children with single-suture craniosynostosis and 18 controls, ages 4 to 5 years. Study 2 included 24 children with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis and 124 unaffected controls, ages 5 to 9 years.

Main Outcome Measures:

Outcome measures included the Child Behavior Checklist, Social Competence Scale, Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, and Parenting Stress Index.


We observed lower scores on measures of health-related quality of life in cases versus controls, with adjusted effect sizes ranging from −0.72 to −0.44 (p< .05) on summary measures. Small but statistically nonsignificant increases in behavioral problems were observed in cases versus controls, with no apparent differences in social competence or parenting stress.


Results provide preliminary evidence suggesting that children with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis may have elevated risk for psychosocial difficulties, particularly health-related quality of life. Continued follow-up through preadolescence and adolescence is warranted.

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