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Health Care Women Int. 1994 Sep-Oct;15(5):361-75.

Body image, self-concept, and self-esteem in women who had a mastectomy and either wore an external breast prosthesis or had breast reconstruction and women who had not experienced mastectomy.


The perceptions of three groups of women regarding their body image, self-concept, total self-image, and self-esteem were compared. The groups included 64 women who had mastectomies and wore external breast prostheses, 31 women who had mastectomies and underwent breast reconstruction, and a control group of 78 women who had not experienced mastectomy. The body image, total self-image, and self-esteem mean scores indicated that the prosthesis and reconstruction groups had more positive feelings regarding their bodies than did the control group. There were no significant differences in self-concept among the three groups. These findings challenge a common assumption that mastectomy automatically results in psychiatric morbidity caused by an altered body image and suggest that health professionals should not make assumptions about how a woman will psychologically respond to mastectomy.

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