Jaw correction surgery can cause significant psychosocial impacts on patients. This prospective study investigated the longitudinal changes of psychosocial characteristics of patients with dentofacial deformities after jaw correction surgery and the factors that predict the psychological resilience in Hong Kong Chinese undergoing jaw correction surgery.
A longitudinal cohort study was conducted on 92 Hong Kong Chinese patients (32 males, 60 females; mean age = 24.75 ± 5.65 years), who had jaw correction surgery as treatment for their dentofacial deformities, from 1 st June 2011 to 30 th June 2015. Self-completed psychological inventories including Brief Symptom Inventory, Life Orientation Test, and the Adult Trait Hope Scale were used to measure distress, optimism, and hope levels respectively. Patients completed the inventories in five time points: the surgical consent signing day (usually two to three months before the surgery) (T1); one day before operation (T2), first to second post-operative week (T3), third post-operative month (T4) and sixth post-operative month (T5).
Latent class growth analysis revealed two outcome trajectory classes: a resilience trajectory (n = 45, 48.9%) and a chronic dysfunction trajectory (n = 14, 15.2%). Another 33 (35.9%) showed erratic trajectory patterns that would not be classified into any categories. The psychological distress levels of patients in the resilience trajectory group, on average, were below the clinical threshold of the Brief Symptom Inventory at all time points. However, the opposite result was obtained for patients in the chronic dysfunctional group. Patients exhibiting a resilience trajectory pattern, when compared to those showing a chronic dysfunction pattern, had higher optimism (t(57) = 3.69, p < .0001) and hope (t(57) = 2.46, p < .05) levels at T1. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to compare the relative power of optimism and hope levels at T1 to predict resilience or chronic dysfunctional group membership. A test of the full model against a constant only model was statistically significant (χ 2(2) = 24.096, p < .01). Preoperative baseline optimism (B = —.276, p < .05) but not hope (B = —.25, ns) was a significant variable to classify the outcome trajectories for psychological distress.
Most patients were resilient to dentofacial deformities jaw correction surgery. About 15% exhibited a chronic distress pattern. An optimistic view about the surgery may enhance resilience. Pre-surgical counselling or educational sessions to facilitate a realistic positive outlook about the operation would be beneficial.