Changes in Body Image Secondary to Disease and Injury


  • Meredith E. Drench PhD PT

    Director, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Meredith E. Drench is director of Adaptive Health Associates, Inc., a counseling and consulting firm, in East Greenwich. RI.

Adaptive Health Associates, Inc., 56 Hickory Drive, East Greenwich, RI 02818.


This article describes the relationship between body image and self-concept, discusses responses to changes in body image secondary to disease and injury, and explores strategies for adjustment to alterations in body image. Sociopsychological aspects of body image form a complex framework by which an individual understands the self and perceives how he or she is understood by others. As body image, self-concept, identity, and ego are closely associated, a loss of or alteration in any one of these factors can have deleterious effects on the entire self. Rehabilitation professionals assume an important role in helping people adjust to and accept alterations in body image by facilitating the grieving process; addressing loss, anxiety, and depression; and empowering individuals to emphasize and use their assets.