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COVID-19 Pandemic Associated With Increased Self-reported Depressive Symptoms in Patients With Congenital Craniofacial Diagnoses



The current study investigated the influence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on patients with congenital craniofacial diagnoses.


Patients (n = 66) with craniofacial diagnoses aged between 8 and 17 were prospectively evaluated with longitudinal psychosocial assessments using the anger, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and peer relationships instruments within the pediatric Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). The COVID-19 cohort (n = 33) included patients with assessments within 2 years prior to the pandemic (t0) and during the pandemic (t1; March 2020 to March 2021). An age-matched comparison cohort (n = 33) with similar demographics and diagnoses included patients assessed twice over 3 years prior to the pandemic.


All PROMIS measures were in the average range clinically for both groups across time points. However, the COVID-19 group reported a significant increase in depressive symptoms during the pandemic (t1) compared to pre-pandemic (t0) scores (48.2 ± 10.1 vs 44.3 ± 9.4, P = .04, d = -0.37), while the comparison group did not demonstrate any differences in psychosocial functioning between t0 and t1. For the COVID-19 cohort, only the pandemic timeframe (r = 0.21, P = .03) was significantly associated with increased depressive symptom scores, and no other sociodemographic or medical variables were associated with depressive symptoms.


Self-reported depressive symptoms increased during the COVID-19 pandemic in patients with congenital craniofacial diagnoses. Longitudinal studies are needed to elucidate whether such changes will be persistent or compound known variables associated with psychosocial functioning.

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