The effect of cleft lip and palate, and the timing of lip repair on mother-infant interactions and infant development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Lynne Murray
  • Françoise Hentges
  • Jonathan Hill
  • Janne Karpf
  • Beejal Mistry
  • And 11 others
  • External authors:
  • Marianne Kreutz
  • Peter Woodall
  • Tony Moss
  • Tim Goodacre
  • Barry Lovius
  • Sanu Desai
  • Brian Christie
  • Richard Bryson
  • Peter Budny
  • Joyce Russell
  • Roger Green


Background: Children with cleft lip and palate are at risk for psychological problems. Difficulties in mother-child interactions may be relevant, and could be affected by the timing of lip repair. Method: We assessed cognitive development, behaviour problems, and attachment in 94 infants with cleft lip (with and without cleft palate) and 96 non-affected control infants at 18 months; mother-infant interactions were assessed at two, six and 12 months. Index infants received either 'early', neonatal, lip repair, or 'late' repair (3-4 months). Results: Index infants did not differ from controls on measures of behaviour problems or attachment, regardless of timing of lip repair; however, infants having late lip repair performed worse on the Bayley Scales of Mental Development; the cognitive development of early repair infants was not impaired. Difficulties in early mother-infant interactions mediated the effects of late lip repair on infant cognitive outcome. Conclusions: Early interaction difficulties between mothers and infants having late repair of cleft lip are associated with poor cognitive functioning at 18 months. Interventions to facilitate mother-infant interactions prior to surgical lip repair should be explored. © 2007 The Authors.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008