It is of clinical interest to investigate the degree to which patients with facial disfigurement use defense styles. Therefore, 59 adults born with rare facial clefts, 59 patients with facial deformities acquired at an adult age, and a reference group of 141 adults without facial disfigurements completed standardized questionnaires. There was a significant difference between the group with and the group without disfigurements on immature defense styles, with the disfigured group using the immature style more frequently. There was a trend for the nondisfigured group to use more mature defense styles. No difference between congenital and acquired groups was seen on individual types of defense style. Self-esteem had the strength to differentiate mature and immature defense styles within our disfigured groups. The association of low self-esteem and the utilization of immature defense styles suggests that professional help may tailor treatment on discussing immature defense style and problems triggering or maintaining this style. Copyright

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Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

van den Elzen, M.E.P, Versnel, S.L, Perry, J.C, Mathijssen, I.M.J, & Duivenvoorden, H.J. (2012). Defense mechanisms in congenital and acquired facial disfigurement: A clinical-empirical study. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (Vol. 200, pp. 323–328). doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e31824cb378