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Title: Body image and body image investment in mastectomy and breast reconstruction
Author: Le Vesconte, Helen
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK and both diagnosis and treatment can cause significant levels of distress and impaired quality of life. There arc many factors that relate to psychological distress in women coping with breast cancer including changes in body image. Appearance-related side effects, such as hair loss, are often reported as more severe than side-effects such as nausea and fatigue. A review of the literature explores the links between mainstream body image models and breast cancer. The impact of mastectomy on body image and mental health outcomes is discussed as well as the role of breast reconstruction, as this may help to alleviate women's body image difficulties and emotional distress following surgery. The need to understand the role of body image investment within theoretical models as well as for breast cancer patients facing mastectomy and immediate reconstruction is highlighted, especially in light of the inconsistencies found within the literature. The empirical paper investigates the psychosocial and body image outcomes of two groups of women: those undergoing mastectomy alone and those undergoing mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction. It also examines whether investment in body image acts as a moderating variable between surgery type and subsequent psychological distress. Both groups reported deteriorations in their body image following surgery, though this did not always correspond with increased emotional distress. Women who reported a higher body image investment who underwent mastectomy alone had the poorest outcomes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available