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J Health Psychol. 2012 Nov;17(8):1212-22. doi: 10.1177/1359105311432491. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Social interaction experiences of adults with Moebius Syndrome: a focus group.

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  • 1Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA.


This focus group study explored the social interaction experiences and strategies of 12 adults with Moebius Syndrome, a rare congenital condition characterized by facial paralysis. Content analysis revealed five themes of social functioning: social engagement/disengagement; resilience/sensitivity; social support/stigma; being understood/misunderstood; and public awareness/lack of awareness of Moebius Syndrome. Participants used compensatory expressive strategies such as vocal tone, gestures, and humor. The combination of being unable to express oneself with the face, having a facial difference, and having a rare disease is particularly stigmatizing. Increasing public awareness and developing social skills programs for people with facial paralysis could facilitate social functioning.

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