Self-concept Changes During Orthodontic Treatment1


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    The author would like to thank those at the University of Western Ontario Orthodontic Clinic for making this study possible, Loraleigh Keashly for her invaluable statistical expertise, and Paul Favaro, H. W. Marsh, and Paul Paulus for their helpful comments on previous drafts of this manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Karen Korabik, Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, NIG 2WI.


This longitudinal study examined self-concept changes as a function of orthodontic treatment. Three cohorts of adolescents undergoing orthodontia in consecutive years were given the Piers-Hams Self-concept Scale (Piers, 1969) at various times before, during, and after the treatment process. There were no changes in physical appearance subscale scores. Total self-concept scores did increase from before to after treatment, but only for those subjects who were tested within 6 months after the removal of their braces. When posttest measures were taken more than 6 months after treatment, no self-concept improvement was evident. Thus, orthodontic treatment produced no lasting effects on self-esteem.