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J Psychosom Res. 2012 Dec;73(6):459-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.08.010. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Body image as a predictor of psychopathology in surgical patients with colorectal disease.

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1
School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed to test the relevance of a cognitive behavioural model of body image in a prospective study of colorectal surgery patients and to determine if pre-existing body image disturbance influenced psychological adjustment following surgery.

METHODS:

Sixty-seven adult consecutive colorectal surgery patients completed measures assessing psychopathology, body image related beliefs and health related quality of life during pre-admission for surgery using a questionnaire battery. Each participant was followed up three months after surgery.

RESULTS:

Depression and anxiety were positively correlated with body image disturbance and self evaluation at baseline. Those patients who went on to receive stomas experienced a significant deterioration in their body image that was not observed in those whose surgery did not result in the formation of a stoma. In the regression analysis, body image disturbance was a significant predictor of baseline levels of depression and emotional quality of life. Initial levels of body image disturbance remained a significant predictor of depression and anxiety at follow up assessment after medical variables and baseline levels of depression and anxiety, respectively, had been controlled for.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings support the hypothesis that pre-existing vulnerabilities in body image influence emotional adjustment during the recovery phase following surgery. Further research on screening for body image disturbance in surgical patients in order to promote adjustment is warranted.

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