Spina Bifida can affect social and psychological development. Children with special needs of any type often rebel against their disability when they realize it cannot be wished away. They may become depressed, defiant or withdrawn. A recent study by Dr Maureen Dennis (Neuropsychologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada) has shown that depression levels amongst individuals with Spina Bifida aged 6-17 years were around 50%. Higher rates of depression were much more common in older individuals with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus.
An increased acceptance and inclusiveness of people with disabilities has made it easier over the last decade for youth to adapt than previously.