Behavioral Characteristics of Children With Vocal Fold Nodules

Published:February 14, 2006DOI:


      Vocal fold nodules (VNs) in children are benign, bilateral lesions occurring on the mid-membranous vocal folds. Repetitive phonotraumatic behavior leading to chronic vocal fold injury and repair is frequently cited as the primary etiology; however, specific behavioral characteristics may predispose some children toward intense and potentially phonotraumatic voice use, thereby contributing secondarily to VN formation. The purpose of this case-control study was to determine whether children with VNs possess unique behavioral characteristics that may predispose them to VN development. Parents of 26 children with VNs (20 boys, 6 girls, mean age = 7.2 years, SD = 2.5 years), and 29 vocally normal, medical controls (22 boys, 7 girls, mean age = 6.7 years, SD = 2.4), completed the Childhood Behavior Checklist (CBCL/4-18, Achenbach, 1991), a standardized parent-rating scale with strong psychometric properties. No significant between-group differences were detected on any of the behavior problem syndrome scales. Group differences approached significance for the individual items “screams a lot” and “teases a lot” (VN group > Controls). The VN group scored significantly higher than the controls on the “Social Scale,” a compilation of positive ratings of the child's social activity, frequency of contacts with friends, behavior with others, and behavior by themselves. Observed outcomes were consistent with previous characterizations of children with VN as “outgoing” or “extroverted” but were not consistent with other claims that this population may be at risk for “aggressive,” “attentional,” or “impulsive” behavior problems.

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