Nichola Rumsey and Diana Harcourt

in Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199580521
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

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Interest in the applied and academic study of the psychology of appearance has increased rapidly in recent years, and bookshelves have started to fill with a growing number of texts on the subject. However, whereas previous texts tend to take a pathologizing stance with a focus on body dissatisfaction and associated problems, this book offers a more balanced approach, by including research which focuses on psychosocial factors and processes contributing to resilience to appearance concern, by exploring the potential to use people's motivation to enhance appearance as a mechanism to improve health, and by examining the factors that influence positive adjustment to an unusual appearance. It also includes the full spectrum of appearance-related issues rather than focusing solely on ‘body image’ and its concomitant emphasis on issues relating to weight and shape; it includes disfigurement in this spectrum, rather than treating research and practice on visible difference as a sphere of activity entirely separately from the more ‘mainstream’ area of body image. An overview of the five sections of the book is presented.

Keywords: appearance psychology; psychosocial factors; health; positive adjustment; body image; disfigurement

Article.  1340 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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