Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice

Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice

Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice

Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice


This uniquely integrative handbook provides a comprehensive account of current theory, research, and clinical practice in the area of body image and body image disorders. The volume's 57 brief chapters have been contributed by internationally recognized experts from diverse mental health, medical, and allied health care disciplines. Conceptual approaches for understanding body image are reviewed, lifespan developmental factors examined, and the influences of gender, physical characteristics, family factors, sexual orientation, and sociocultural variables evaluated. Cutting-edge information is presented on understanding and treating such problems as eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, and negative body image experiences associated with disease or other physical conditions. Specific assessment techniques are reviewed and evaluated, and the evidence is examined for a wide range of clinical management approaches, including contemporary psychosocial treatments, weight loss and fitness regimens, psychopharmacology, and surgical interventions.


Looking back over nearly a century of scholarly attempts to understand the profoundly human experience of embodiment that we call "body image," we find a very rich and inspiring history. From diverse vantage points, psychologists, physicians, and philosophers have theorized about the nature and significance of body image. Scientists have made systematic observations to test their ideas and discover the meanings of body image. Clinical practitioners have pursued remedies directed toward the body, the mind, or both to help people whose quality of life is diminished by their body image experiences.

This introductory chapter offers a historical and conceptual context for the volume by highlighting specific books that mark important milestones in body image scholarship, identifying and discussing core conceptual themes about body image that permeate past and current eras, and articulating contemporary perspectives on body image by summarizing the organization and contents of this handbook, which speak to its rationale and uniqueness.


Pre-1990 Legacies

Understanding modern perspectives on body image requires insight into the long and rich lineage of the body image construct. In the single most informative historical review of body image, the late Seymour Fisher, in his . . .

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