Br J Dermatol 2018 Aug 7;179(2):353-361. Epub 2018 Jun 7.
Division of Rheumatology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Background: Facial morphoea is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder, typically presenting in childhood and adolescence, which can be disfiguring, and which has been suggested to cause mild-to-moderate impairment in quality of life.
Objectives: To explore the everyday experiences of children with facial morphoea by examining the psychosocial impact of living with facial morphoea and how children and their families manage its impact.
Methods: We used a qualitative, social constructionist approach involving focus groups, in-depth interviews and drawing activities with 10 children with facial morphoea aged 8-17 years and 13 parents. Interpretive thematic analysis was utilized to examine the data.
Results: Children and parents reported on the stress of living with facial morphoea, which was related to the lack of knowledge about facial morphoea and the extent to which they perceived themselves as different from others. Self-perceptions were based on the visibility of the lesion, different phases of life transitions and the reactions of others (e.g. intrusive questioning and bullying). Medication routines, and side-effects such as weight gain, added to the stress experienced by the participants. To manage the impact of facial morphoea, children and their parents used strategies to normalize the experience by hiding physical signs of the illness, constructing explanations about what 'it' is, and by connecting with their peers.
Conclusions: Understanding what it is like to live with facial morphoea from the perspectives of children and parents is important for devising ways to help children with the disorder achieve a better quality of life. Healthcare providers can help families access resources to manage anxiety, deal with bullying and construct adequate explanations of facial morphoea, in addition to providing opportunities for peer support.