It has often been wrongly assumed that people with disabilities have poor body image. The purpose of this chapter is to review the body image research involving individuals with impairments and investigating if they are dissatisfied with their appearance. People with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, blindness, and amputations are all very different, and their impairments are likely to differ in many other respects that can play a role in body image self-perceptions. The lack of unanimity across the research reviewed here suggests that disability type, disability severity, visibility, duration, congenital versus acquired factors, age, gender, ethnicity, social support, and self-efficacy are all important considerations that can moderate and mediate the link between disability and body image. Researchers are urged to use theory to guide their research and to consider nontraditional approaches to the study of body image. For instance, researchers studying positive body image understand that this does not comprise simply the absence of negative body image cognitions and have examined the role of body appreciation and body acceptance.
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