Objective: Parents of children with a medical condition and a visible difference can experience challenging situations. We evaluated distress and parenting stress in parents of children with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL±P) or a visible infantile haemangioma (IH). Setting: This cross-sectional study took place in an academic medical hospital in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Participants: 309 parents (Mean age = 40.30, 56.00% mothers) of children with CL±P and 91 parents (Mean age = 36.40, 58.24% mothers) of children with IH. Main outcome measures: The Dutch version of the Parenting Stress Index – Short Form and the subscales Anxiety, Depression and Hostility of the Symptom Checklist – 90. Results: One sample t-tests and mixed linear modelling were used. On average, parents of children with CL±P and of children with IH showed significantly lower parenting stress compared to normative data. Anxiety was significantly lower in parents of children with CL±P than in the norm group. Visibility of the condition was not related to distress or parenting stress. Child behaviour problems were positively related to parenting stress, depression and hostility. Conclusions: Parents of children with CL±P and IH report less distress and parenting stress compared to the norm. On average, these parents seem well-adjusted. A practical implication is to monitor parents of children with behavioural problems.
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