Body Image, Mental Health and Quality of Life
1Windesheim University Zwolle, Department of human movement, health and well-being
2University of Groningen, Rob Giel Research Centre (RGOc), Department of Psychiatry
Background: Body image is defined as one‘s body-related self-perceptions and self-attitudes, including thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviours. Experiences and conditions of embodiment may have far-reaching effects on physical and emotional well-being. In patients with severe somatic diseases body image disturbances have been confirmed and are associated with lower quality of life. However, the association between body image, mental health, and quality of life is still unclear. Methods: The present study investigated the association between body image and quality of life in 267 patients with a wide range of mental health problems. Body image was measured by the Dresden Body Image Questionnaire (DBIQ), a 35 items self-report instrument measuring five dimensions of body image: vitality, body-acceptance, self-aggrandizement, physical contact, and sexual fulfillment. Quality of life was measured with the Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA). Findings: Body image was significantly lower for all subscales in the clinical sample compared with healthy controls. Correlations between DBIQ-35 and MANSA were strong for mean total score and moderate for body acceptance, vitality and sexual fulfillment. Discussion: Enhancing body image may be beneficial for people with mental health problems.