Emotional functioning and self-perceived severity of youth with pectus excavatum




Gill, Jennie K.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Currently, there is little research on self-perception and the psychological impact of concealable deformities such as pectus excavatum (PE). The current study addresses this gap by comparing self-perceived severity, actual physical severity, and depressive symptoms in youth with PE. Substantiating parents' and physicians' concerns, participants' scores on the Youth Self-Report depression subscales were significantly higher than non-clinical normative samples, indicating more depressive symptoms. Analyses of self-perceived severity, the Haller Index (HI; a medical measure of PE severity), and depressive symptoms substantiated the importance of subjective self-perception. There were no significant correlations between the HI of physical severity and depressive affect; however, youths' perceptions of severity correlated strongly and predicted depressive affect. The results suggest that youth with PE may be at risk for depressive disorders, and that self-perception, not actual physical severity, is the better predictor of the psychosocial impact of the deformity.



human abnormalities, psychological aspects, chest surgery