Encyclopedia of Feeding and Eating Disorders

2017 Edition
| Editors: Tracey Wade

Body Image

  • Victoria A. MountfordEmail author
  • Antonia Koskina
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-104-6_74


Body image can be seen as the perceptions and attitudes one holds toward one’s own body, especially, but not exclusively, one’s physical appearance (Cash and Pruzinsky 2004). It is a multidimensional concept and encompasses:
  1. 1.

    Beliefs about appearance, including memories and assumptions

  2. 2.

    Feelings about the body, including its size and shape

  3. 3.

    Perception of the body and the sense of embodiment


Body image is thought to be fluid and dynamic in nature and can be influenced by factors such as interpersonal experience, personality, and social and cultural norms.

Body image disturbance is defined as a “disturbance in the way in which body weight or shape is experienced, with undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of current low body weight” (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association 2013) and is a central diagnostic feature of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise...
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References and Further Reading

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bruch, H. (1962). Perceptual and conceptual disturbances in anorexia nervosa. Psychosomatic Medicine, 24, 187–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cash, T. F., & Pruzinsky, T. (2004). Body image: A handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. Fairburn, C. G. (2008). Cognitive behavior therapy and eating disorders. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  5. Farrell, C., Shafran, R., & Lee, M. (2006). Empirically evaluated treatments for body image disturbance: A review. European Eating Disorders Review, 14, 289–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Martijn, C., Vanderlinden, M., Roefs, A., Huijding, J., & Jansen, A. (2010). Increasing body satisfaction of body concerned women through evaluative conditioning using social stimuli. Health Psychology, 29, 514–520.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Waller, G., Cordery, H., Corstorphine, E., Hinrichsen, H., Lawson, R., Mountford, V., & Russell, K. (2007). Cognitive behavior therapy for eating disorders: A comprehensive treatment guide. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eating Disorders Unit, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  2. 2.Eating Disorders Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.West London Mental Health TrustLondonUK