Research Topic

Body Image Across Health and Disease - A Bio-Psych-Social Perspective

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Body image is a complex multidimensional construct. It has been conceptualized to consist of perceptual, somatosensory, cognitive-attitudinal, as well as behavioral components. Due to its multidimensional nature, a wide range of methodological approaches have been developed to assess different facets of body ...

Body image is a complex multidimensional construct. It has been conceptualized to consist of perceptual, somatosensory, cognitive-attitudinal, as well as behavioral components. Due to its multidimensional nature, a wide range of methodological approaches have been developed to assess different facets of body image. This includes questionnaires assessing body dissatisfaction and body related attitudes, but also a series of tasks that assess body size perception, individuals' interoceptive and proprioceptive skills, or the integration of multisensory information.

Likewise, the influence of body image on health and disease is complex and multidirectional. While health-related behaviors (e.g., nutrition and physical activity) can significantly affect an individual's body image, the likelihood to engage in or impede these behaviors also depends on the pre-existing body image itself. Body image has been theorized to be an integral part of our sense of self. It significantly contributes to our physical and mental well-being, and is subject to dynamic changes and adaptations throughout the lifespan.

Notably, body image is critically linked to a range of somatic and mental disorders. In particular, body image distortions have been shown to lie at the crux of a number of (psycho)pathologies, for example: eating and weight disorders, chronic pain, body identity integrity disorder, and neurological conditions such as stroke. In order to foster a healthy lifestyle, and to advance effective prevention and treatment approaches for those affected by body image impairments, it is pivotal to focus on developing a better understanding of the foundations and mechanisms of body image in health and disease.

This Research Topic welcomes manuscripts of original articles, reviews as well as meta-analyses. Due to the lively and ongoing debate in the field on (a) theoretical frameworks and (b) methodological approaches to capture and integrate the complex nature of body image, we are also interested in manuscripts with a theoretical or methodological focus. We welcome manuscripts reporting quantitative as well as qualitative data.

Subtopics of specific interest cover studies /data:
- on mechanisms of body image in clinical populations
- using innovative/novel methods to assess facets of body image
- investigating prevention and treatment approaches targeting body image


Keywords: body image, body representation, disease, health


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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